The main character, Macey Claire, in the book, Burning Up, by Caroline B.Cooney, changed from a normal fifteen-year old to someone willing to make a difference.
The story begins in Connecticut, and summer is just beginning. Macey has been known to spend her weekends with her grandparents living on Shell Road. The road is known throughout the town for its beauty and respectable people. On the same road, Austin's grandparents live. Aus is a little bit older than Macey, but they both look forward to spending time together. His grandparents" place has been his home for the past school year. This was led on by his parents" troubles in their marriage.
To finish up the school year, Macey's class had been assigned a history project. There was a barn fire on Shell road in 1959; thus, Macey chose that as her topic. Casually, she started asking relatives and Austin's grandparents questions, hoping to get a start. Much to her surprise, nobody seemed as interested as she and didn't really want to talk about it. Many of the people she asked, including her teacher, suggested finding a new topic.
During the school year, each student was required to have so many points earned by community service. Macey, Austin, Lindsey, and Grace, Mace's other friends, decided to help out at Good Shepard Church to earn some of those points. The church was located in the part of town known for violence. At the church, their assignment was painting classrooms for younger kids. Macey was assigned to work with Venita. Venita was a black girl who talked a lot to Macey that day. They found a lot in common and formed a friendship. Venita told her of their school having to use Shakespeare photocopies and having no computers to use. Mace was extremely shocked by this. After mentioning it to other people, she realized the problem had always been, but she just never believed it.
While the kids were painting that day, a fire was started, which was later thought to be arson.