Georgia, 1936. Opal Pruitt never imagined almost-adulthood would look like this. Her town of Parsons, Georgia, is hit hard by the drought affecting much of the country. The citizens of this small town are still feeling the ongoing effects of the Great Depression and the residual effects of Reconstruction. Unprovoked beatings and property burnings by the Ku Klux Klan are causing a firestorm of emotions among black and white members of the town, threatening to tear apart the uneasy harmony within the community. Soon Opal herself is affected by the violence, and she finds her heart torn between so many new emotions.
Despite these struggles, the town is preparing for its annual Founder's Day celebration--an event the entire community looks forward to each year. But the underlying tension begins to erupt in the heat, and this summer has the potential to change everything.