Life in eighth grade isn't ever easy, but thank goodness Tara*Starr and Elizabeth don't have to deal with snail mail anymore to help each other through parent problems, school problems, and friendship problems. And when their lives fall apart at almost the same time, they realize how much they need each other.
Just as Elizabeth and her little sister are getting used to living in an apartment instead of a huge house, and living with just their mother and not their father, he starts calling and making promises. But he's always drunk when he does, and those promises are never kept.
But parents aren't the only people complicating their lives. They have to figure out how to stay best friends with each other and with the kids they see every day. They have to learn to cope with the pressures of being in the eighth grade, with boys and crushes, and poetry clubs, school plays, and not always being able to fit in. Not to mention the fact that they're turning thirteen, and high school is only one year away!
But life seems to be going along as well as can be expected, when the lives of both families are torn apart in ways Elizabeth and Tara*Starr never expected or could prepare for. They have to stick together even more just to survive and figure out how to begin to pick up the pieces.