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One Mississippi    by Mark Childress order for
One Mississippi
by Mark Childress
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

Daniel Musgrove's world turns upside down when his family suddenly moves from the lush farm country of Indiana to the deep heart of Mississippi. In an early omen, the moving van carrying everything the Musgroves own crashes. They watch as their belongings go up in smoke. Fifteen-year-old Daniel, along with his siblings, faces life like he's never encountered it before. As a junior in high school, he begins the 1973 school year on the first day of desegregation - a fact not many small town, rural Mississippians are happy about.

Feeling like an outcast, Daniel quickly meets Tim Cousins, a fellow outsider. The two become best friends, sharing inside jokes, watching Sonny and Cher on television, and going to the prom in sky blue tuxedos. Life for both of them changes on prom night though. After the first-ever black prom queen at Minor High School is crowned, she is hit by a car on the way home. She emerges from her coma convinced she is white. Both Daniel and Tim are woven into the consequences. Daniel is forced to make tough choices as he weathers a year of hormones and humiliation. Just when he is thinking he has everything figured out, his paradigms shift.

Mark Childress crafts a riveting book filled with moments that touch every emotion. Difficult to put down, the book's characters draw the reader in, providing a connection for everyone. At times hilarious, gentle, intelligent, and terrible, this coming of age novel has a shattering ending.

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