Tonya Cherie Hegamin, April 2008. This first novel, poetic and daunting, tells the story of O(pal) and M(arianne), best friends in a small Pennsylvania town. They’re inseparable as children, but part ways when they go off to high school, where M becomes a dissembler and O a dissenter. M forgets the kisses the girls shared under a blackberry bush in order to try out for cheerleading and become the county’s first black homecoming queen, while O is a scholar who throws up emotional walls that block any other friendships from forming. Near the beginning of the book, M’s body is found in a ravine, leaving O friendless and unsure of her future. Intertwined with the girls’ story is the tale of Hannah, a runaway slave whose ghost appears as a warning to M. The veil Hegamin drapes between the reader and the narrator leaves this one too complex for younger and reluctant readers, but excellent for older teens and college students.