Avery is convinced her senior year is ruined when she’s uprooted to rural Mississippi to care for her dying grandmother. The only saving grace? The gorgeous girl next door who introduces Avery to her tight-knit group of friends. But when one of the friends is murdered in a race-fueled attack, suspicion falls on Avery. Now she must uncover the small town’s bloody past in order to find the truth. Sadie meets Dreamland Burning.
Now Entering Bardell, Mississippi
Welcome to the Cotton Capital of the South
A Great Place to Grow!
That’s how many bullet holes I count puncturing the rusted Bardell welcome sign. There are probably more, but by the time I pull out my phone for a picture, the sign is a blur behind us as Mom accelerates into town. I sneak one last glimpse through the rear window. Sunlight streams through the bullet holes, and it’s like God herself is letting me know that someone besides me was just as upset to arrive in this wasteland.
“Cotton capital of the South!” Dad says from the passenger seat. “Avery, what could be more exciting?”
“Winning the lottery,” I say. “Making out with Rihanna.” Or how about the obvious? Not being dragged to the middle of nowhere before my last year of high school.
“Rihanna, huh? Solid choice.” Dad snickers and high fives me. Mom’s smack to the back of his head comes so quick, it makes me jump.
“Y’all can cut the sarcasm,” Mom says. “I get it. You think my hometown sucks. But just wait. Bardell is a diamond in the rough!”
I lower my sunglasses, taking in the passing soybean fields and farms. The same landscape I’ve been staring at for hours. No diamonds, only rough.
“Yup,” I say. “Absolutely gorgeous.”