From the New York Times best-selling author Andrea Davis Pinkney comes the gripping story of a young girl forced to choose between protecting a family member and doing what she believes is right.
It's summer vacation, and twelve-year-old Nell has gone upstate to spend a month with Aunt Ursa and Cousin Foley. Seeing Foley's best friend, Slade, puts a smile on Nell's face, even when she tries to stay cool. Nell is enjoying the lazy days of summer, especially Foley's antics and Slade's flirty talk . . . until the boys surprise her with a frightening request. They want her to hide a pistol in her old dollhouse. Nell doesn't know what to do. Suddenly, she doesn't trust anyone, even herself. But when tragedy strikes, she knows she can't handle it on her own.
“Your old dollhouse ain’t nothing but a box of dust. Mama don’t ever pay it no mind.”
I nodded, too flustered to argue. Slade gently uncurled my clenched, sweaty fingers. “Here,” he insisted, lifting the gun from Foley’s hand and wrapping my fingers around the weapon’s short barrel. “You’re Fo’s only cuz, Nell. This is family helping family, kind of like your aunt was talking about the other day. C’mon, Nell, be good to your own flesh and blood.”
Foley was breathing heavily. His hands, now firmly wrapped around the can of night crawlers, were twitching.
I swallowed again, harder than before. The Raven .25 was heavy as a rock, and cold against the clammy skin of my palm. My whole body had gone stiff, and something had snatched my voice right out of my throat. I couldn’t speak. But like a puppet’s arm on a string, my hand lowered the gun into the pocket of my sundress.
"[A] poignant and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story. . . Pinkney’s characters emerge complex and real in this tale of home-town pride and family loyalty."—Publishers Weekly"Shifting moods, increasing tension, and a well-defined setting make this novel compelling and thought-provoking for readers. . . . A good read."—School Library Journal"A rare look into the heart of a twelve-year-old girl as she balances the very real dangers of modern living against the unabashed joys of being in a close-knit black family. The author allows her characters to walk that dangerous edge between morality and adventure, which leads to insight."—Walter Dean Myers, Printz Award-winning author of Monster"It’s easy to fall in love with Nell and all the Gradys. Ms. Pinkney has the touch for healing and family recognition. . . . She makes you know that after tears, there’s laughter, and everything else is bound to be all right."—Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis
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