Is Maggie a social deviant or simply a free spirit who absconds with a willing fifteen-year-old for a summer on the road? Is her desire for a protégé strictly for selfish reasons? Will Taezha’s presence alone be enough to keep the creative flame alive in Maggie? Is it even possible, in today’s world, for a middle-aged adult to have an innocent relationship with a young person to whom they are unrelated? After her boss criticizes her for being overly-involved with Taezha, Maggie speculates: “Isn’t being involved with others—in over our heads—what life should be all about?” Is Maggie a morally bankrupt narcissist or ethical in a way most are not in today’s world?
Maggie Barnett, a once nearly famous novelist, works in the media center of a school in Flint, Michigan. In her search for the ‘right’ student to mentor, she decides on Taezha Riverton. Taezha couldn’t be more perfect – not only as her understudy, but as companion on a road-trip to the Southeast. Others disapprove, not only because of their age differences, but because Maggie’s white and Taezha, black. Their separate worlds collide and neither female will ever again be the same. Complexities soon arise on their mad-cap road trip. The fact of their being of different races adds to the daily tensions. Racism becomes apparent in all its nuanced and insidious guises.
Hot on their trail is Sulie Rowe, psychic and private investigator, who claims to know everything about Maggie. For several weeks Maggie and ‘Tae’ retreat to a remote cabin. Maggie turns it into a writer’s boot camp and Taezha questions the merits of becoming a writer. Awaiting their arrival is Tyler, Taezha’s supposed uncle. His true identity will further rock Taezha’s world. Back in Michigan, Taezha’s supposed mother and Maggie’s sister are anxious for their return. Several threads entwine, begin to fray, but new ones form, allowing Maggie and Taezha to rethink earlier choices.