Lynn English High School is half black, half white; half urban, half small town. The students struggle to learn and to rise above the limits of their town, the racial stereotypes of 1990s New England, and the narrow-mindedness of some of their teachers. Other teachers at Lynn English are heroes, seeing more in their students, and in the significance of their own lives, than most could imagine. Though filled with problems - even a killing in the year this book spans - Lynn English is filled with hope. In both regards it is more typical of the American high school than any sunny suburban school can be today.