Gabriel King believes he was born chicken. He’s afraid of spiders, corpses, loose cows, and just about everything related to the fifth grade. If it’s a choice between graduating or staying in the fourth grade forever, he’s going to stay put–only his best friend, Frita Wilson, won’t hear of it.
“Gabe,” says Frita, “we got to do something about you.” When Frita makes up her mind, she’s like a locomotive–there’s no stopping her. “First, you’re going to make a list. Write down everything you’re afraid of.”
Gabe’s list is a lot longer than he’d like Frita to know. Plus, he can’t quite figure out how tackling his fears will make him brave. Surely jumping off the rope swing over the catfish pond can only lead to certain death . . . but maybe Frita knows what she’s doing. It turns out she’s got her own list, and while she’s watching Gabe face all his fears, she’s avoiding the fear that scares her the most.
With wisdom and clarity, K. L. Going explores the nature of fear in what should be an idyllic summer for two friends from different backgrounds. For them, living in a small town in Georgia with an active Ku Klux Klan, the summer of 1976 is a momentous one. It’s the summer they discover what courage is all about.