Tracy couldn't have imagined a worse start to her freshman year. The weekend before she's supposed to start school at the recently integrated Mason High in Bakersfield, Alabama, a fatal car accident threatens the fragile peace her town has experienced since it was forced to desegregate.
Maybe it's an omen, but Tracy is determined not to let it slow her down. With segregation slowly dying across the South, she sees change happening and is determined to use it to her advantage. Tracy dreams of making it to Harvard, and she won't let anything stop her from becoming an Ivy League-trained lawyer. Aware of the amount of dedication and personal sacrifice it will take to achieve this goal, she is willing to give up weekends out, and is prepared for her teachers, friends, and even family to stand in her way. What she hasn't counted on, however, is falling in love.
Derek doesn't know what he wants from the future. Lacking ambition, and happily settled in Bakersfield, the only thing the two of them seem to have in common is their dislike for each other. When a high school project forces them to work together, Tracy finds herself falling for him. But in her quest to achieve the impossible, there's no room for deviation or compromise-and there's certainly no room for love.
As Tracy struggles with her developing feelings, she realizes that in life, it's never as simple as black and white.