Thirteen-year-old Clair Lothrop's world is falling apart. Her mother has died, and her father spends his evenings shut in his study. In a desperate attempt to get her father's attention, Clair stops talking. Clair's vow of silence gets her father's attention, but not in the way she hoped. He resigns from his position as the pastor of a large metropolitan church to begin a mission in the remote woods of northern Michigan, taking Clair with him. Clair is furious at having to leave her friends. The woods are frightening, and her new house is a tumbledown shack where raccoons and mice have made their home. But everything changes when Clair discovers a wonderful new friend her own age, Dorrie, who lives alone in the woods to avoid her alcoholic father. Through this surprising friendship, Clair finds strength and courage she didn't know she had.