It's the1920s and Hanalee is out to avenge the death of her father. When the kid who went to prison for hitting Hanalee's father with his car is released, Hanalee comes after him with a pistol. He convinces Hanalee that he's not the murderer. That he was framed. That Hanalee's new stepfather, the doctor, is the real killer.
Hanalee begins to investigate, including a couple of visits with the ghost of her father. Turns out, the story is much more complicated. Hanalee's father is black and her mother is white. The Ku Klux Klan has a strong presence in 1920s Oregon and they do not accept Hanalee or any other person of color.
I don't want to say too much about what happens. The tension mounts, as Hanalee begins to understand the truth about her father's death, and she finds herself in great danger because of it.
Winters writes characters that you can't help but sympathize with. It's easy to think the worst of people, but in some cases that's not the truth. And, of course, sometimes those we trust turn out to be the worst! The Steep and Thorny Way is a multilayered story that I couldn't put down. I wasn't really sure about what happened until it was revealed.
I will recommend this to my students along with Winters' other novels, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, and The Uninvited. I gave them all 5/5 ratings.
Published by Amulet, March 8, 2016
eARC obtained from NetGalley
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