Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent
Jessilyn Lassiter never knew that hatred could lurk in the human heart until the summer of 1932 when she turned 13. When her best friend, Gemma, loses her parents in a tragic fire, Jessilyn's father vows to care for her as one of his own, despite the fact that Gemma is black and prejudice is prevalent in their southern Virginia town. Violence springs up as a ragtag band of Ku Klux Klan members unite and decide to take matters into their own hands. As tensions mount in the small community, loyalties are tested and Jessilyn is forced to say good-bye to the carefree days of her youth. Fireflies in December is the 2007 winner of the Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest, and a 2010 Christy Award winner.
I loved this book. And I normally don't like books that are set in a different time. But this was such a sweet book written by a 13 year old girl in the Deep South that has an amazing relationship with her black best friend. Her innocence was lovely to read. I love being from the South, but am amazed at the level of prejudice that happened only 80 years ago. But the strong characters in this story just showed that not everyone was like that.
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