Jane is terrified of the masks hanging along her grandmother's stairwell, and even more scared of the Spirit Man in her grandmother's bathroom. After a week of avoiding him during a summer visit, she finally summons the courage to face him, minutes before leaving for the trip home. But her moment of triumph marks the beginning of a year of trouble for Jane and her family, trouble only Jane (and the Spirit Man) can fix.
When Molly learns a talent competition is coming to town, her friend Murphy (A Different Game, Murphy and Mousetrap) becomes her manager. Molly is certain she is a good singershe has been singing in her head for as long as she can remember. She doesn't sing out loud because of a promise she made to herself. Years ago, Molly vowed that her mom would be the first one to hear her sing. The only problem is, Molly knows nothing about her mom, who left when Molly was a baby. With the talent competition only weeks away, she has to decide whether to break her promise to herself and let her voice out into the world, or wait for her mother's uncertain return before singing for anyone else.
Murphy and his three friends, Danny, Jeff and Albert, are making the transition from the tribal elementary school to the community middle school. They are all trying out for the middle school's soccer team, and they're pretty confident that The Formidable Four will all make the team. But once the tryouts begin, Albert, the tribal-school superstar, plays like a second stringer. Murphy's new friend, Molly, is determined to help the boys find out what's wrong with Albert, but when they discover the truth, they realize that Albert is playing a whole different game.
Ten-year-old Rosario Ramirez and her family are political refugees from Mexico, trying to make a new life in Canada. After being teased at school, Rosario vows not to speak English again until she can speak with an accent that's one hundred percent Canadian. Since she and her parents plan to spend the whole summer working on BC fruit farms, she will be surrounded by Spanish speakers again. But when her family's closest friend Jose gets terribly sick, Rosario's plans start to unravel. Neither Jose nor Rosario's parents speak English well enough to get him the help he needs. Like it or not, Rosario must face her fears about letting her voice be heard.
Martha knows she is adopted, but she's well-loved and popular, at least until her mother gets pregnant and she feels her parents' attention start to shift. Upset and confused, Martha lashes out at and loses her friends. She also makes no secret about her annoyance at being forced to do a school project about sturgeon with Chance, a difficult boy whose foster parents are family friends. To add insult to injury, Martha's birth mother announces that she is getting married and moving away. Now Martha isn't number one in anybody's life. When her mom goes into labor prematurely, Martha realizes that she needs to figure out a way to be a better friend and daughter, and a great sister.
Murphy's mother has just moved him and their cat, Mousetrap, back to the reserve in Port Alberni. Although he belongs to the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, Murphy is sure that he won't fit in, and he worries about Mousetrap, who has always been an indoor cat. When a bunch of local boys drag him to their soccer practice, put him in goal and pelt him with balls, he believes that his worst fear has come true. However, he seems to be discovering a new talent at the same time. And perhaps he has misjudged. Being a light-skinned city boy thrust onto a reserve far from the city is not easy, but maybe Murphy has what it takes.
Colette Faizal isn't superstitious, so she doesn't worry when a fortune-teller advises Colette's mother to "watch for the unexpected." But when her father announces he is going back to Iran, her mother is hurt in a car accident and Colette is sent to live with the grandparents she's never even met, everything the mysterious woman predicted seems to be coming true. As Colette struggles to bring her family back together, she tries to hold on to the last thing the fortune-teller told her: "You will know how to handle what lies ahead."