Ahn Joo Cho had emigrated with her family to Virginia when she was seven. Two years later, a cab called 'Reliable' takes away her mother and her infant brother forever. Grade by grade in school, Ahn Joo matures within an alien society, excelling at creative writing as her home life with her old-fashioned father deteriorates. Language heals her, saves her. As Ahn Joo enters womanhood, a heart-breaking secret finally sets her free to create her own heritage.