by Lauren Wolk
Annabelle lives a steady life with her parents, grandparents, two younger brothers plus aunt in a small Pennsylvania farming town. The arrival of the new girl Betty shakes things up and not in a good way. Annabelle quickly learns the new girl is a relentless bully who threatens not only Annabelle but her family and friends as well. Annabelle must find the courage to face Betty on her way to school with her brothers and in class. Her school is a one classroom building with one teacher to instruct all the grades. Usually Betty’s antics in school go unnoticed but once they cross paths outside Betty demands things from Annabelle. If Annabelle refuses, Betty will hurt one of her younger brothers. When Betty’s actions become dangerous, Annabelle knows it’s time to confide in an adult. The surprise comes when Betty disappears and suspicion falls on Toby, a recluse that lives and wanders around town. Toby has never posed a threat to Annabelle or the townsfolk which leads Annabelle to believe he’s not involved. The frantic search for Betty and Toby reveal the town’s prejudice against an innocent man and the lengths a young girl will go to do what is right.