Fourteen-year-old Melisandre lives in New York City with her mother. Meli, a self-identified weird teenager, far prefers exploring the museum to attending classes at her upscale academy. She transfers to an alternative public high school, where she makes friends with students even weirder than she is. Then Meli faces a crisis as one of the darkest aspects of the wider world comes into her life.
By the time the colonists landed on the planet with two suns, they had already divided into the rulers and the ruled. When the new world failed to provide sufficient food, this division erupted into civil war. Some people fled to the desert, others stayed on the coast and built a city from the hulks of the starships. Espera, the desert girl, comes to the city on a quest.