When Ruth Ashley leaves her Missouri farm home to live with her grandmother for a year and attend a city high school nearby, she is excited but grieves over leaving her parents. During the year, Ruth learns, after bitter struggles, to face defeat. It is a story of contrasts: the proper grandmother is very removed from the girl's homespun parents; suave, politically minded Richard, a distant cousin is a far cry from Jubah Dalton, the barefoot boy back home; and the busy city life is different from the pace of home-centered life on the farm. The climax occurs when Ruth is blinded in a boat accident, but she regains her sight and returns to Jubah. Although the situation has possibilities, the prose is hackneyed, the plot is all too familiar and the book's one advantage lies in its regional appeal.