Once again Callie is forced to take part in her mom's latest crusade. They head into ranch country to camp -- bloodthirsty mosquitoes, stinky outhouses and all -- at a protest to save a rural school. Callie's grandmother shows up with her biker buddies and the singing grannies. Callie hates camping and wants nothing to do with the protest. To make matters worse, Callie's only possible ally, her cousin Del, is mad at her. The last time Callie visited, she was thrown from Del's horse, Radish. Callie claimed the horse was vicious and now Del's parents are forcing her to sell Radish. Callie wants to help her cousin, but she's terrified of the horse. Del is just as tenacious as the rest of Callie's family, and Callie is forced to admit that she's not going to be allowed to go home until both the horse and the school are saved.
In most ways, Poe is like the other kids in his school. He thinks about girls and tries to avoid too much contact with teachers. He has a loving father who helps him with his homework. But Poe has a secret, and almost every day some small act threatens to expose him. He doesn't have a phone number to give to friends. He doesn't have an address. Poe and his father are living in a tent on city land. When the city clears the land to build housing, Poe worries that they might not be able to find another site near his school. Will Poe have to expose his secret to get help for himself and his father?
Sable wears only black and has always felt that doom is near. Lacey wears pink and seeks beauty everywhere. A sadistic art teacher pairs Sable and Lacey together for their final project. The girls have to get to know one another and select a suitable poem for the back of each other's decorative mirror. Sable is less than thrilled at having to spend time with Lacey, who she believes to be nothing more than a brainless doll. As the project progresses, and Sable gets past her resentment, she learns some surprising truths about who Lacey really is. All of Sable's images begin to change, including the one she holds of herself.
Emery's neighbor, Richard, is the kind of kid who gets under your skin. When Richard suggests a game of "Nicky Nicky Nine Doors," Emery can't come up with a good excuse not to play. Using chocolate bars as "stunt poo," the boys start playing the classic prank of the burning bag on the doorstep, but this game has a modern twist. They videotape their neighbors' reactions. The naked guy and the man in the apron are highly entertaining, but Emery starts to get cold feet when another neighbor is reduced to tears. Emery wants out, but he's not sure how to stop the game without losing face. Soon the game gets serious, and Emery has a lot more to worry about than his reputation.
When Mike Longridge gets himself in trouble yet again, he is given a choice: juvenile detention or an outdoor program called Explore. He opts for Explore, but soon finds himself wondering how he is going to survive ten months with the hippies and keeners in the program. He's never felt so out of place and is certain he will never get the hang of the outdoor activities. Will Mike go back to his old trouble-making ways or will he finally find a place to belong?
Justin is fascinated with the aged guard dog at the corner store. He names it Smokey and sneaks the dog treats. Smokey belongs to a company that supplies working dogs to local businesses. Justin is thrilled to get a job working for Smokey's company, until he learns about the mistreatment of the animals. When Justin can't shake his suspicion that someone in the company is involved in a rash of thefts, he tries to quit. But Justin knows too much, and his boss won't let him go.
Maddie has big-city dreams, and this summer she's found her chance to visit New York. An art magazine is holding a portrait painting contest, and the first prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Big Apple. Maddie plans to win, but her mother has different plans for her: a mother-daughter adventure in organic farming. Maddie is furious. How will she find an inspiring subject for her portrait amid the goat poop and chickens? And worse, her new age mother's attempts at pig reiki are an embarrassment. But Maddie befriends the farmer's daughter, Anna, and between dodging her mother and doing her chores, she finds the perfect subject for the portrait contest.