Jacquelyn Mitchard

Arley, a 14-year-old honor student in Texas, begins writing to Dillon LeGrande, an inmate of the nearby correctional facility. Gradually, she falls in love with him, and they are secretly married. When she becomes pregnant, she is rejected by her family and moves in with an activist lawyer, a woman who is having troubles with her boyfriend, a death row attorney. Dillon escapes from prison and goes on a crime spree, and while Arley waits for a reunion with him she must cope with not only a forest fire but her maddened and violent sister.

1999 Shortlist

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