Young Readers

The $66 Dollar Summer

A Novel of the Segregated South
“Each word, each line, rings with a striking authenticity.” —CHILDREN’S LITERARY REVIEW

It’s the summer of 1955 when thirteen-year-old George Harrington arrives in Obadiah, Alabama, to work in his grandmother’s store to save money for a motorcycle. Esther Garrison, who has just graduated from the eighth grade at Obadiah Colored School, also works at the store, saving money to attend high school in the fall. Her brother Bennett’s job is not as desirable as his sister’s—he works for a surly white farmer, Mr. Vorhise, who raises fighting dogs.

An unusual trio—George is white; Esther and Bennett are black—they spend their time roaming the countryside together, fishing and searching for outlaw treasure. On these excursions, conversation often turns to Esther and Bennett’s father, Staple, who mysteriously vanished four years ago. When George, Esther, and Bennett stumble onto chilling evidence that explains the mystery of Staple’s disappearance, a current of racism ruptures their idyllic summer and forces the three friends to confront the hate that surrounds them.

Well-crafted and poignant, The $66 Summer brings home both the horrible realities of the segregated South and the power of friendship.