Twelve-year-old Carissa lives with her widowed mother, Lorena, in rural Georgia. There aren't many ways for a black woman in the South in 1927 to make a living. Lorena does laundry for white ladies, but she wants Carissa to have the opportunities that come with education. Both of them yearn to move up north, where Carissa was born.

Into their lives rides an elderly man on a shiny blue bicycle.
Bailey is a wanderer, a storyteller, a thinker, a kind and sociable man who can repair and tighten up and fix just about anything.
Soon he's part of Carissa's life, almost like the grandfather she never had. He teaches her how to ride his bicycle, and how to find her balance in other ways as well, and Bailey's time with Carissa and her mother helps him decide how to continue his own journey.

A vividly rendered setting, strong, memorable characters, and a narrative rich in humorous and poignant moments make this first novel a compelling and distinctive coming-of-age story.

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