When Pineridge High is forced to integrate in the 60's, the ""black elite"" makes sure their children are the six chosen to attend the all-white school. Malene Freeman, recently adopted by the black undertaker's family, finds going to school just another ordeal; the story opens as Wiley, a redneck, sics his dogs on her. The children band together to walk home; on the way, Wiley marches them at gun point into his garage, scares them with threats of burning the building down, and leaves them locked in while he incapacitates himself on moonshine. When night falls, parents, the sheriff, and others assemble to find the children; Wiley is accidentally shot. When the black children talk among themselves, telling of what is going on in their lives, this story blossoms. But the plot fizzles after the children are rescued--they disperse to college and other futures, and integration goes on. The author's ""Ludell"" books were more vivid and believable, yet Malene's story is nonetheless one that young people today should hear.