Before the start of her senior year of high school, Caroline Wexler moves with her widowed father from the big city to small town Hargrove. There are other items at play to make it so such as an ongoing raging industrial fire at the edge of town and a white suited serial killer on the loose preying on teenaged girls, but it ends up being the most adventurous year in Caroline's life largely on her actions to make it more exciting there for herself and the results of those actions. At the start of the school year, quick witted Caroline can immediately tell that the girls dislike her being suspect of her big city attitude, while the bored boys are largely stoners, getting high on whatever they can find, from true illicit drugs to vanilla extract to household cleaners. To relieve her own boredom, Caroline decides that her sexual conquest will be Mr. Anderson - Barry - her English teacher and an aspiring novelist, who grew up in Hargrove, left town, but has just returned out of circumstance and not of his own desire in truly disliking Hargrove. To throw people off the track of her pursuit of him, she also takes up with one of her stoner classmates, Thurston Goldberg, the two who initially met on what was arguably the worst day in Thurston's so far young life. That bad day did not stop Thurston from falling in love with Caroline on first sight. By the start of the new year, life in Hargrove for Caroline, Thurston and Barry will change dramatically from how it started and how Caroline in particular had anticipated.