Hollis Woods was an infant when she was abandoned and for 12 years she has been transferred from one foster home to another. To the social agency, she is a "mountain of trouble" because she skips school and runs away, even from the Regans, a family willing to give her a real home. When she is placed with Josie, an elderly artist who is becoming very forgetful, Hollis begins to feel needed and doesn't ever want to leave this eccentric old woman who knows a lot about friendship and love.
Fearful that the social agency will take her from Josie, Hollis plans a winter escape. This time she takes Josie with her and returns to Branches, the summer home that belongs to the Regans. All along, Hollis longs for her life with the Regans, and records every special moment with them in a gallery of pictures.