When a racially mixed family moves into an all-white neighborhood in East Hartford, Connecticut, in 1961, lives are altered forever. Karl Luntta's Know It by Heart follows the adventures of young Dub Teed, his sister Susan and neighbor Doug Hammer, who befriend newly arrived Ricky Dubois, the daughter of an African-American woman and her white husband. When a burning cross flares in the night—and worse—the young adolescents set out to find justice and discover themselves in the process.
Despite the book's serious anti-racist theme, Know It by Heart is filled with humor reminiscent of Mark Twain. In this suspenseful novel, Karl Luntta brilliantly captures the world of the young adolescent in his characters and dialogue and in the innate comedy and awkwardness of that age. This is a book that will appeal to parents and teenagers alike.