Devil on My Heels
Please check your local library or used bookseller for a print copy of this book.
ABOUT THE BOOK
It’s 1959 in Benevolence, Florida, and life is as sweet as a Valencia orange for fifteen-year-old Dove Alderman. Whether she’s sipping cherry Cokes with her girlfriends and listening to the Everly Brothers, eating key lime pie made by her housekeeper, Delia, or cruising around town with the coolest boy in school in his silver-blue T‑bird convertible, Dove’s days are as smooth and warm as the soft sand in her father’s orange groves.
But there’s trouble brewing among the local migrant workers. Mysterious fires have broken out, and rumors are spreading that disgruntled pickers are to blame. Amid this simmering conflict comes a shocking revelation about the earlier death of Delia’s husband. Suddenly, black and white become a muddy shade of gray, and whispers of the Klan drift through the Southern air like sighs. Hoping to get to the bottom of the controversies, Dove begins to question the privileged life she’s always known … and in the process, uncovers painful secrets and dangerous truths.
HONORS AND AWARDS
- A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
- A Children’s Book Committee/ Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year (starred)
- Sequoyah Young Adult Book Award Master List, 2006–2007
- Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Finalist, 2006
- South Carolina Young Adult Book Award Nominee, 2006–2007
- Volunteer State Book Award Nominee, 2006–2007
- Missouri Gateway Readers Award Nominee, 2006–2007
” … engrossing … McDonald provides a gritty picture of the rules that dictate Dove’s world. The suspense stays taut as Dove begins to uncover the mystery, and then events escalate to a blaze.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The writing is excellent and the story believable. This novel will provide powerful supplementary reading for studies of racism.” (VOYA, 5 Q 4P)
“McDonald’s language is at times as intoxicating as the scent of the orange groves she depicts, her characters are rich and fully developed, and her plot pacing flawlessly matches the events she’s narrating.” (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“McDonald has written a gripping page-turner that digs deeply into the class struggles of the 1960s. And she has created the best kind of character — not a hero, but one who ends up doing the heroic, if painful, thing.” (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
“Books on top of books spill forth from publishing houses. So many that it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with what’s hot, what’s not, what’s new and what’s what in the never-ending mound. So it’s always a special pleasure to unearth a book that is a real gem, like finding a rare stone in a pile of rocks. Such is the case with Devil On My Heels, by Joyce McDonald.” (Detroit Free Press)
“This is a powerful novel with strong character development and vivid descriptions. Through Dove’s eyes, readers see the South before the Civil Rights Movement came to the forefront. Highly recommended for readers in middle and high school.” (Kliatt)
“Dove’s naiveté and determination are captured beautifully in this novel of the South in the time after World War II but before the civil rights movement. Issues such as racial prejudice and censorship are presented in a manner both timely and timeless, opening discussion and comparisons to our lives today.” (Teenreads.com)
” … suspenseful … this well-written story conveys the simmering racial hatred and bigotry of the times … This is certainly a page turner and it will give readers insight into a difficult and shameful part of American history.” (School Library Journal)