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July 2005 Edition

Pug Sheridan grew up in rural Alabama and, at the age of 20 in 1918, she writes about her life. Pug is a character reminiscent of Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. She is softhearted, strong-willed and a leader. As a child, she and six of her friends, including an African American orphan, a Cherokee girl and assorted others, representing all strata of her small town's population, form a club called the Seven Sisters. As these girls grow up, they fight the evils of their time: incest, poverty, prejudice, natural and man-made disasters like tornadoes and arson, and the return of the Ku Klux Klan. They also find young love, start families and grow from ragamuffins with dreams to young women with goals. By the end of the novel, Pug herself becomes a widow, a mother, and a published author, while others of her friends move away, die, or find what they have been looking for. Pug finds wisdom in her lawman father and understanding mother, her neighbors and relatives, including the local "witch" and the Cherokee medicine woman. Young adult readers will envy Pug's adventuresome spirit, be challenged by her determination to fix the evils of her time, recognize her mistakes and admire her faithfulness to her friends and her ideals. -- Nola Theiss