The Last Carolina Girl by Church
For fourteen-year-old Leah Payne, life in her beloved coastal Carolina town is worlds away from the harsh realities of the day. Loyal to her lumberjack father, she knows only of the familiarity of her small community, the magic of the natural world, and the creative intuition that prompts her to march to the beat of her own drum.
But when an accident takes her father’s life, leaving her an orphan, Leah finds herself cast into a family of strangers whose welcoming façade hides a terrible secret. That’s when a moment of violence thrusts Leah into the very center of the state’s shameful darkness, forcing her to risk a past she holds dear to protect a future she fears she may never have.
Set against the very real backdrop of 1935 North Carolina where a state eugenics board was mandating forced sterilizations, this novel sheds light on a horrific era of injustice and one young woman’s fight to control her future, discover her family, and find her own way forward.