A contrived, poorly constructed climax caps an anemic plot in this soapy tale of two teenagers struggling to make sense of personal, social, and racial relations in a small Georgia town. Kari can't explain, even to herself, why she puts a rock through African-American classmate Shawna's window, but the incident draws the pair together--especially after they learn that Kari's mother, Allison, and Shawna's father, Joe, have a history that's been bushed up. Meanwhile, Shawna's editorial in the school paper challenging the antebellum customs of the town's upcoming Old South Ball, and an ensuing letter in which an interracial couple, Marion and Natalie, announce their intention to attend, stirs up an exclusive girls' club of which Karl is an increasingly unenthusiastic member. For reasons that are never clear, Joe and Allison won't talk about why they didn't graduate with their high-school class: Joe abruptly went to Chicago, and Allison was bustled off to relatives in Knoxville for six months. Shawna and Karl bolt to Knoxville, believing themselves to be searching for the half-sibling they never knew they had. Having pushed her characters to a fever pitch, Hewett (Soulfire, 1996) mercilessly bursts their balloon: Yes, Joe and Allison were found in a compromising situation, but there was no baby. The racial controversy over the ball is also summarily resolved; such haste combined with gaps in logic, fragmentary conversations, and a weak finish make for a patchy story at best.