I thought the idea of a white girl, Claire--not only being best friends with a Creole, Loretta--but whose aunt was employed by the family turned a stereotypical trope upside down. After all, this story takes place in the South during Jim Crow laws. I love that feisty Irish Claire didn't even see the color of folks' skin, but what was on the inside. This tolerance--and more importantly--acceptance is an important message for young readers today. Even though Claire got in trouble at the camp because of Jim Crow laws and suffered from intolerant social isolation once home, she stuck to her beliefs and people who were truly important-- not society as a whole, big, scary thing that it can be when it's against you.
Interesting friendship. Strong characters. Wonderful message of acceptance. Swoon-worthy Joe ;)