This is a beautiful story. Schmidt handles the challenge of racial tensions with such wonderful sensitivity. The word “colored” is used once, and the tension is established. It looms over the plot and the town. There are no happy endings here, just compromises and the pain of growing up. Schmidt knows his adolescent characters and his adolescent readers. This novel is pitched perfectly. By the time I got to the passage below, I was near tears myself:

The world turns and the world spins, the tide runs in and the tide runs out, and there is nothing more beautiful and more wonderful in all its evolved forms than two souls who look at each other straight on. And there is nothing more woeful and soul-saddening than when they are parted. Turner know that everything in the world rejoices in the touch, and everything in the world laments in the losing.

What a stunning excerpt, both in form and content. Those lines are a master class all by themselves.

Here’s more about the author –

And I’m going to have to borrow a middle school student, so I can go see the show –