Throughout their childhood, next-door neighbors Emmy and Oliver were inseparable—until Oliver disappeared in second grade, kidnapped by his noncustodial father. Ten years later, Oliver has been found and is returning home to California. The intervening years have changed a few things: Oliver’s mom remarried and has twin daughters, and Emmy’s parents have reacted to Oliver’s disappearance by becoming hyper-protective of their only daughter. It’s the end of senior year, and everyone—not just Oliver—is trying to figure out how to reconcile their future plans with their past.
Although the novel explores Oliver’s complicated feelings in the wake of his kidnapping and homecoming, the primary focus is on Emmy’s divided loyalties—to her parents, to her friends, to her hopes and dreams. Robin Benway effectively uses Oliver’s extreme situation to dramatize the inner struggles that preoccupy many young people on the border between childhood and adulthood.