Samantha Heller just found out that her family must move to Chicago at the end of the school year. And even worse, her father must move before the family to start his new job, meaning she has to deal with her mother, the one woman she should be able to relate to, but can't. In light of the situation, Sam befriends Nick Masters, the contractor hired on to renovate the house.
Nick Masters, a man who prefers to be alone, finds comfort in the Heller family household. They accept him, and he slowly takes on the duties of Sam's father. He mediates fights between Sam and her mother, Liz. He helps Sam practice for her driver's license exam. But the calm doesn't last long.
Just as Sam starts to see her mother more as an ally and less as an enemy, something terrible splits them apart. The result? A lesson in understanding what it means to be a grown up in world that isn't very forgiving.