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Cassie learns how disaster can result from choosing friends for the wrong reason as well as how to use false friendship to her own advantage. She and her siblings also discover that sometimes people who are not blood related are just as important as actual relatives. Part of growing up is developing an understanding of the things that really hold families and friends together.
An important element in being able to survive during hard times is a strong sense of identity, especially in relationship to other members of the family and community. For the Logans, their sense of identity develops from pride in ownership of their land as well as memory of their combined history.
Although racism permeates the book and could be considered a major theme, I feel that the author used racism as a tool rather than as her primary subject.
The depression created an environment that exacerbated problems for both cultures. The story does not dwell on poverty, but the hard times prevent many of the characters from doing anything to improve their lots.
Somber, tragic, leaving the reader with a paralyzing sense of the injustice and cruelty inflicted on some of America's people. The protagonist also develops an understandable sense of bitterness.