In 1956, Edie Jo Houp's small town of Half Moon, North Carolina, is bitterly divided over the issue of letting the town's minority Indian population send their children to the vacation bible school. Her family is divided as well; since her father stood up in church to publicly support the integration they have been shunned by many in the community. Even Edie Jo is divided. On one hand, she and her brother narrowly escape an attack by a gang of teenagers who are Indian; an Indian boy is the prime arson suspect when her grandmother's house is burned to the ground. On the other hand, she falls in love with a charismatic older boy named Cherokee Fish, the brother of the suspected arsonist. This powerful, passionate, and deeply moving novel is ripe with intriguing characters, and fills readers with the tension and foreboding of a town turned against itself. Oughton (The Magic Weaver of Rugs, 1994, etc.) offers no simplistic solutions or black and white situations; good and bad exists on all sides and within all people, and no one is a saint (although the angry and preternaturally wise Cherokee Fish comes close). Most important is the message that societies don't change, only the individual does, through a conscious decision to match actions with beliefs. Novels about the evils of prejudice are common, but this intelligent novel is uncommon indeed, and rings with the truth of heartfelt experience.