The immediate darkness was as thick as wool, pressing over his face, folding into his eye sockets, wrapping down over his nose and mouth until he could scarcely breathe.
Clem wants a dog for his thirteenth birthday, but what he gets is a miner’s cap. It is the 1920s in Leadanna, Missouri, and Clem must become a man, leaving school and joining Pap in the lead mines; money’s tight in the Harding household. Meanwhile, Lindy, whose face bears a scar from a long-ago accident, is forced to help her abusive father sell moonshine. As Clem searches for another way to support his family, the two become friends. When disaster strikes, Clem must make some hard decisions about his future and the fate of his family.
This beautifully written coming-of-age novel shines with true characters, including an unforgettable stray dog, a vivid setting, and heart-felt relationships.
Susan Hill Long has worked as an editor and has written several books for beginning readers. Her awards include Bank Street College Best Books and The Katherine Paterson Prize. This is her first novel. She lives in Oregon.