Twelve-year-old Peyton McKenzie isn't ready to share her widowed father with anyone—certainly not with her cigarette-smoking redheaded cousin Nora, who just rolled into sleepy Lytton, Georgia, this summer behind the wheel of a pink Thunderbird. But her father seems to like Nora, and prim Aunt Augusta hates her, which means she can't be all bad. And when Nora takes a job teaching the first integrated honors class at the local high school, it appears she might be staying forever.
But there's something troubling Peyton's unorthodox cousin, something more than the outspoken town gossips' complaints about Nora's "unsouthern ways." When the truth comes to light, it will rock the segregated small community—and teach Peyton an unforgettable lesson about the enormous cost of love.