It's summer vacation, and twelve-year-old Nell has gone upstate to spend a month with Aunt Ursa and Cousin Foley. Seeing Foley's best friend, Slade, puts a smile on Nell's face, even when she tries to stay cool. Nell is enjoying the lazy days of summer, especially Foley's antics and Slade's flirty talk . . . until the boys surprise her with a frightening request. They want her to hide a pistol in her old dollhouse. Nell doesn't know what to do. Suddenly, she doesn't trust anyone, even herself. But when tragedy strikes, she knows she can't handle it on her own.
About the Author
Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times best-selling author of several books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor book Duke Ellington, illustrated by her husband, Brian Pinkney; and Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, a Coretta Scott King Honor book and winner of the Carter G. Woodson Award. Andrea Davis Pinkney lives in New York City.
Read an Excerpt
“Your old dollhouse ain’t nothing but a box of dust. Mama don’t ever pay it no mind.”
I nodded, too flustered to argue. Slade gently uncurled my clenched, sweaty fingers. “Here,” he insisted, lifting the gun from Foley’s hand and wrapping my fingers around the weapon’s short barrel. “You’re Fo’s only cuz, Nell. This is family helping family, kind of like your aunt was talking about the other day. C’mon, Nell, be good to your own flesh and blood.”
Foley was breathing heavily. His hands, now firmly wrapped around the can of night crawlers, were twitching.
I swallowed again, harder than before. The Raven .25 was heavy as a rock, and cold against the clammy skin of my palm. My whole body had gone stiff, and something had snatched my voice right out of my throat. I couldn’t speak. But like a puppet’s arm on a string, my hand lowered the gun into the pocket of my sundress.