Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn't think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town's residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can't help but feel stuck - and helpless - in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by.
School is out in the summer of 1925 in Dayton, Tennessee. For Frances Robinson, a 15-year-old daydreamer with a crush on her teacher, John T. Scopes, summer vacation promises tennis and Coca-Colas from her father's drug store. But when Frances' father, the school board chairman, has Scopes arrested for teaching evolution, the sleepiest place on earth becomes a hotbed for famous thinkers, including H.L. Mencken, Clarence Darrow, and William Jennings Bryan.