Kidd knows tragedy. He has a father who loves drugs more than his family, and a mother who seeks solace in alcohol. As a result, he finds himself at Horizons, a group home, where he meets Devon, a boy with a volatile personality and a death wish.
Kidd decides to run away, ends up working maintainance on the beaches of Cardiff, CA, and falls in love with the most beautiful and mysterious girl he's ever known, Olivia. Things seem to be looking up for Kidd until Devon knocks on his door determined to teach him a few lessons about life. Afraid that Devon will hurt Olivia in order to get to him, Kidd confronts his old friend, and one of them doesn't make it out alive.
This novel faces some very difficult issues such as abuse, racial identity, class, and mental illness. Although the reader recognizes certain nuances of de la Pena's writing, the voice is unique and the writing style is more fluid. Since it opens with a murder, readers are drawn into the plot the moment they open the book and find themselves turning page after page to find out what led up to the point that a young man's body was plunged over a cliff.