Olivia Jones (Paperback)
Eleven-year-old Olivia "Oli" Jones lives in the backwoods of rural Alabama. Her best friend, Bartholomew "Mo" Wright, helps her make sense of her uncommon life. After all, they both share the same tragic history. Both their fathers enlisted in the Army. Both their fathers fought in Vietnam. Both their fathers never came back. This deeply wounding sadness is something they bear together as only best friends can. However, they want nothing more than a semblance of a "normal" childhood, and when the opportunity comes to have that, they chase it with reckless abandon. One day, Oli and Mo discover that his father is alive and living in a city a couple of towns over. The two friends devise a plan to find him without telling their mothers. In finding Mo's dad, Oli believes she'll find answers to her own father's whereabouts. This harrowing tale is told through a series of flashbacks and backstory, narrated by the brave and determined Olivia. Over a summer, Olivia's journey spans the state of Alabama, and in the process retraces historic steps across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She is forced to grow up quickly, as she uncovers dark secrets she wasn't supposed to find out and learns details about her father's angst-filled life. The story unfolds through more inspired events, including a widely publicized court case. We eventually come to understand how powerfully lives can be transformed when people join forces for good.