The second protagonist, Isabel, lives in Cuba in 1994; however, her family decides to flee with their neighbors after a run-in with Castro's police force. Their flimsy, homemade boat must survive the 90-mile journey to Miami in shark-infested waters, as they escape in the darkness with what few belongings will fit.
Mahmoud is a present day boy hoping to escape the violence in his Syrian homeland. With his parents and siblings, he attempts to find refuge across the waters, first to Greece and finally to Germany. The frightening existence for each of these young people includes danger, bravery, and betrayal. Deciding who to trust and where to run are vital to their very survival.