Fifteen-year-old Tamara has been around the block a couple of time -- a couple of times too many. She just wants out -- out of the foster care system, out of the nonsense of school, where too many people with no clue about what she wants out of life try to fill her head with stuff that doesn't matter. She's not stupid -- she knows she needs a plan -- but she wants to be a model, more than anything else on earth.
Her new foster parents, Shirley and Herb aren't that bad, and at her new high school, she gets a chance for community service - whoppee! - that pairs her up with one of the richest, meanest old woman ever. What's worse, is the crazy old lady smokes like a chimney, and she likes - opera.
Jean Barclay hates her retirement home, and when a skinny teen comes by to bring her a gift (lavender slippers? What did she ever do to deserve those!?) she's pretty sure this is going to be the worst "program" the Center has come up with yet. This vulgar girl with all of her jewelry, make-up, and crazy clothes! You can see she's got flint and she's got courage like one of the Valkyries from the Ring Cycle, but it's not like they have anything in common!
Yet Skinnybones & the Wrinkle Queen come up with a madcap tradeoff that takes them away from the small Canadian town in which they live, all the way into the U.S., to Seattle, and onward. Suddenly, Tamara's dream seems possible, within reach, and so does Jean's. How can they not take the chance to pull one last bit of magic out of their empty lives?
But how much will that trip cost them in the end?