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Thirteen-year-old Anna's passionate dream is to go to high school, the first girl from her tiny farm community back in 1910 to do so. She is determined not to stay at home like her older sister, Mary Ellen, helping their mother and waiting to marry a local farmer. But there is no money to send her to River Heights, seven miles away, and anyway, her mother needs her. When sixteen-year-old Mary Ellen is sexually assaulted by a local boy, the situation gets worse. No one suspects Mary Ellen is pregnant until she gives birth to the illegitimate baby. The surprise birth threatens to ruin the family's standing in the community and Mary Ellen's reputation. Anna wrestles with helping her parents and sister while still striving to make her burning desire to go to high school a reality. Meanwhile she becomes involved in solving the mystery of a missing ring, and in stopping another attack by the boy who assaulted her sister. But how will that help her realize her dream?