An awkward but handsome fifteen-year-old, Donnie Darning has a brilliant mind but a dysfunctional family. His father is overbearing, and his mother drowns her problems in alcohol. Fortunately, his dismal world doesn't compare to the vast universe he finds inside books, but he is tired of living life vicariously through reading stories.
Josie Rosado changes all that. Beautiful and exotic, the seventeen-year-old daughter of a Romani immigrant has just moved in with her family next door to Donnie. Josie is charismatic and worldly, a wonderful mystery to be solved, and Donnie is immediately captivated by her spiritedness.
Josie shows Donnie how exciting the world can be, whether they're flying kites in the park or having moonlit tête-à-têtes on the roof. They soon become inseparable, living in their own bubble of existence. But one day, they come home to find a Lincoln Continental parked in Josie's driveway. Donnie discovers that Josie has a secret, but can she trust him enough to reveal it? Donnie must protect Josie, even if it destroys his family's good name-and his life.