"Whatever shows up on your doorstep you have to let in." This is the philosophy of 91-year-old Aunt Penpen, who lives in the remote woods of Maine with her inseparable but completely different twin, Aunt Tilly. So when thirteen-year-old Ratchet Clark, their distant cousin, comes to spend the summer with them, they welcome her with warmth and all sorts of dark yet humorous family stories. Ratchet has been sent away by her uncaring mother, who has "more important" things to do. Finding a caring home for the first time with these elderly relatives, Ratchet learns about gardening, bears, and life, as a variety of characters cross their doorstep, including another lonely teen named Harper.