Belle Teal's life isn't easy, but she gets by. She lives with her mother and grandmother far out in the country. They don't have much money, but Belle Teal feels rich with their love. As school begins, Belle Teal faces unexpected challenges. Her best friends are up against some big problems. And there are two new students in Belle Teal's class: a shy boy caught in the town's furor over desegregation, and a snob who has problems of her own. As her world falls apart, Belle Teal discovers the importance of sticking together.