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One Mississippi : a novel
Mark Childress
Adult Fiction CHILDRE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

When his father is relocated from Indiana to Minor, Miss., in 1973, 16-year-old Daniel Musgrove finds himself a classic fish out of water. At Minor High, the Midwestern teenager finds a kindred spirit in wiseacre Tim Cousins, whose motto is "Everything is funny all the time." The two indulge their love of Sonny and Cher, get recruited by a local Baptist church to perform in an amateur musical called Christ! and endure the bullying of football star Red Martin. When, on prom night, the boys accidentally run over Arnita Beecham, a beautiful, popular black girl, the boys flee, letting Red take the fall. Arnita wakes from her coma believing she's white and promptly falls for Daniel-which makes Tim extremely jealous and puts their coverup at risk. Childress's comic tone and well-written adolescent confusion make his late shift into darker territory jarring, and readers might not follow him all the way to his violent destination. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Childress's (Crazy in Alabama) absorbing and offbeat novel follows events in the life of young Daniel Musgrove as his family relocates to rural Mississippi. Daniel begins his junior year in high school, a stranger in a strange land, but quickly befriends a local alienated youth named Tim Cousins. The two boys share some typical and funny high school experiences. But there is a darker side, starting with a strange accident after the prom involving the homecoming queen, and even though they are not really at fault, they implicate themselves by saying nothing when the school bully is blamed. Tim is comfortable with their silence, but Daniel feels guilty. Although the boys remain friends, Daniel comes to suspect that something is seriously abnormal about his friend. The book climaxes in a Columbine-like scene wherein Tim goes berserk with rifles in the school and Daniel attempts to act heroically but is not enough of a hero to save his two closest friends. Serious issues of race, identity, and loyalty are raised, and tragic and violent events occur, but the author retains a surprisingly light touch in this highly engaging read. Recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/06.]-Jim Coan, SUNY at Oneonta Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Daniel Musgrove
Age: 16
Feels like an outsider at his new school; becomes friends with Tim; performs in a musical; gets picked on by the school football star; accidentally runs over Arnita.

Tim Cousins
Age: 16
Friends with Daniel; performs in a church musical; accidentally runs over Arnita.

Arnita Beecham
African American
Beautiful, popular, involved in a hit-and-run; wakes up from her coma thinking she is white; falls in love with Daniel.

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