“There is such a thing as honorable lying,” declares 11-year-old Lyndie B. Hawkins, who has a keen eye for history, research, and the truth.
It’s 1985. Lyndie and her parents have moved into her grandparents’ home in Love’s Forge, Tennessee. Her dad is a Vietnam War veteran who drinks in his car and disappears for days. Her classmates taunt her about her “Hippie Commie Alabama Trash” mother, who stays locked in her room with headaches. What really sticks in her craw, though, is her grandma Lady, who is determined to mold her into a well-mannered Southern girl, demanding silence about their family secrets. But a newfound friendship with a boy named D.B. from the frightful Pure Visions juvenile detention center sparks in her the courage to find and speak the truth. The hills and valleys of the Smoky Mountains mirror this prideful Southern family, full of pain and loyalty and the importance of appearances. Teasing out the details of D.B.’s troubled life allows Lyndie to re-evaluate the varnished truth of both her own family and that of where she lives. Were her white ancestors really the first to settle Love’s Forge? More immediately, what happened to Daddy in Vietnam? Why does Lady keep secrets? Daddy says, “You’d best take care, what you lend your heart to.” Readers will lose their hearts to this sassy and aching heroine. Full of Southern toughness and mountain charm, her fierce and funny voice fills the pages with fine storytelling.
This hope-filled book is a beautiful picture of broken humanity, a storytelling wonder. (Historical fiction. 8-12)