Francine Green is an eighth grader who is coming of age in the McCarthy era. Her Catholic school and strict father do not permit her to challenge authority, at least not until new student Sophie Bowman comes along. Sophie has been raised in a more liberal family, and has a strong nonconformist streak. If she was a character in "Dead Poets Society," she'd probably be the first to leap up on her desk. Not having the luck to have a teacher like Robin Williams, she is frequently punished by the nuns and shunned by the other students, even those who rebel in their own way. However, she and Francine become fast friends and together, they practice dance steps, skip school and attend a movie premiere in hopes of seeing their crush, Montgomery Clift.
When Sophie's father's friend, a Hollywood actor, is blacklisted, Francine
begins to seriously question some of her previously held ideas. As the adults around her worry about nuclear war and Communism, it is left up to her to find her voice on more personal matters. Recommended.