Annabelle is a target for school bully Betty for no good reason. When a mean trick turns sour, it begins a terrible chain of events. When Betty chooses the local loner as her scapegoat, Annabelle makes it her mission to prove his innocence.
Shades of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird loom close in Lauren Wolk's confident debut. Annabelle is every bit as determined and passionate as Scout Finch, but this is a plot that stays in the fields and farmhouses of the land.
Wolk deals with heavy ideas with a light touch, and there is no unkind language or violence to upset younger readers mature enough to demand this sort of sensitive and thought-provoking story.
It is not a new story, but it's a tale ever-timely. The post-war setting brings old problems into our more recent history, ready for a new generation of readers.