In 1949, thirteen-year-old Francine goes to Catholic school in Los Angeles where she becomes best friends with a girl who questions authority and is frequently punished by the nuns, causing Francine to question her own values.
Francine Green doesn’t speak up much, and who can blame her? Her parents aren’t interested in her opinions, the nuns at school punish girls who ask too many questions, and the House Committee on Un-American Activities is blacklisting people who express unpopular ideas. There’s safety in silence. Francine would rather lose herself in a book, or in daydreams about her favorite Hollywood stars, than risk attracting attention or getting in trouble.But when outspoken, passionate Sophie Bowman transfers into Francine’s class at All Saints School for Girls, Francine finds herself thinking about things that never concerned her before—free speech, the atom bomb, the existence of God, the way people treat each other. Eventually, Francine discovers that she not only has something to say, she is absolutely determined to say it.Once again, Karen Cushman follows a young woman’s progress toward her true self, this time exploring the nature of friendship and the experience of growing up Catholic in an era that is both fascinating and relevant to today’s young people. Author’s note.