Product Details
List Price:
10 to 14
5 to 9
Trim Size:
5.5" x 8.25"
Calkins Creek
ISBN-13: 978-1-62979-723-6
Lexile Level:

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About the Book


Set in the summer of 1939, this sensitive, coming-of-age historical novel explores the complex nature of justice as a young girl struggles to stand up for what she knows is right, even when her community wants to turn the other way.

It’s the calm before the storm of World War II in small-town Messina, California. Angie Wallace and her friends have set out on a mission to “love thy neighbor”—even if that means inviting weird Dodie Crumper to join in their summer plans. But as they move through their neighborly to-do list, the girls can’t help but notice that there’s something strange about the sudden return of Jefferson Clement, particularly when it comes to his behavior around young girls. And when Angie thinks she witnesses a terrible accident, she must make a choice that calls into question everything she understands about truth and justice.


“In lingering, evocative prose, this story is demonstratively reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, including a stifling courtroom inquiry of the town scapegoat and a girl's loss of innocence.” – Kirkus Reviews  

“Donahue creates a memorable pair of antagonists…(t)he novel's climax and its aftermath further underscores a recurring theme of the dangers of false appearances. A leisurely pace, careful language, and a nostalgic tone…mak(e) it appropriate for younger readers or classroom discussion….(a)nd align with the novel's gentle handling of a serious topic. A thoughtful historical fiction and coming-of-age story.” – School Library Journal

“(A)n atmospheric coming-of-age story with plenty of plot twists and turns.” – School Library Connection, starred review

“This well-plotted… treatment of an important topic is sure to spark discussions.” - Booklist

“(A)n interesting story. The historical aspect is well constructed…The exploration of how silence can perpetuate the actions of a known abuser and how a young teen can use her voice to end it conveys a powerful message.” -VOYA  

Meet the Author

Marilyn Cram-Donahue

Marilyn Cram Donahue is the author of Straight Along a Crooked Road and its sequel The Valley in Between, as well as sixteen other books for children. She is also a regular school speaker and author-in-residence at writing retreats. She lives in Highland, California. Visit

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