Life for thirteen-year-old Maggie Pugh has never been blissful. Her father is withdrawn, and her mother cares only about helping Maggie's little sister, Gardenia, win a beauty pageant. Yet events in the summer of 1960 in Kinship, Georgia, add to Maggie's troubles. Her friend Zeke, a black man who has listened to Maggie's concerns and even given her a camera, is arrested after he uses a restroom designated for white people. Maggie manages to overcome the ignorance and cruelty surrounding her, and she uses the camera Zeke gave her to understand and communicate the white community's abuse of the black to the world.