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The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian *** (of 4)

A somewhat predictable, but well-told story about a motherless, white daughter with an abusive father living in a 1920s Mississippi swamp. Once Dad disappears from the picture she is joined by an also motherless Black girl with a history she does not want to reveal. The two teenagers take on the swamp, their neighbors, a newborn, and deadly Jim Crow racism. They find their footing and gain their independence, or, at least the white girl does. To be Black and live in the south under Jim Crow apartheid laws is a balancing act between hopelessness and subversive defiance.

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