Vinnie Matthews needs a lifesaver-not the candy kind, but a real one, one that will bring her daddy back to life and let her family return to their home in Washington. Living with grandma in Brownsville, Virginia, means going to the Gertrude B. Spitzer Elementary School, where all the girls in their pretty, new clothes ask her why her brother Mason is so crazy. Only Mr. Clayton, Vinnie’s handsome young teacher, makes school bearable.
But at recess time, Vinnie sees a tall lanky girl playing hopscotch alone, and her curiosity gets the best of her. Why does Lupe wear bright orange flip-flops? And why is she always getting into trouble? In the midst of her anger and confusion, Vinnie finds a rare friendship-and very nearly destroys it.