Annie Rye Footman, ten, has no use for her three older half-sisters, especially after they join her Georgia sharecropper family permanently, but in time she learns to take her Grandma's advice to ""bear along wit each other."" This first novel, based on the author's childhood in the 50's, is rich in vividly felt moments: the pleasure of buying candy at the ""roiling store""; the frustration of turning the other cheek to racist remarks and intimidation; Annie Rye's terror when snakes invade the house; her simple glee at buying a present for her heroic, hard-working father. Annie Rye and seven-year-old Brother are bright, lively characters (""Brother, look where you going."" ""I is. You just in my way""). The rest of the cast is sketchy, and the plot takes a contrived turn near the end when Annie Rye's father literally turns away from an angry bigot with a pitchfork to rescue the man's daughter from a well. Nonetheless, Smothers explores the value of strong family bonds--and Annie Rye's reluctant but ultimately wholehearted acceptance of her new sibs--with some insight. A promising debut.