Just South of Home by Karen Strong
Just South of Home begins as the story of mismatched cousins who must spend a summer together. Then the narrative takes an unexpected turn.
Sarah and her brother Ellis live in a small Georgia community. Everyone knows everyone and everyone's business. Sarah’s grandmother, always referred to as Mrs. Greene, is a Church Deaconess Board member. She strictly enforces “the rules” and bakes the best red velvet cake.
This summer Ellis and Sarah won’t need to spend their days living under Mrs. Greene’s rigid rules. Mama trusts the two to be on their own while their parents are at work. Then a complication arises. Cousin Jamie comes to stay with them and she's not happy about living in a provincial southern town. Sarah is worried and with good reason. Jamie has "sticky fingers" and a knack for getting into trouble.