Stephanie is a Reading Specialist at Mountain View Elementary School and a voracious reader.
Zitlally lives in two very different worlds. In her school world she watches her three best friends to know how to dress, how to do her hair, and how to act. What Zitlally's friends don't know, what they'll never know, is that she crossed the desert with her parents and older sister years ago to live in the United States. Her friends don't know that the reason her father went back to Mexico is because he was pulled over for speeding and then deported. They don't know that Zitlally, her sisters, and her mother have to move into one bedroom and rent the other bedrooms to strangers in order to make the rent. Of course her friends don't know why Zitlally is suddenly "boring" and doesn't want to hang out with them - and Zitlally has no intention of telling them.
Zitlally feels so alone, until she discovers a dog chained to an old truck in the forest behind her trailer. Zitlally names him Star for the star-shaped mark on his neck. She becomes convinced that Star and her father are connected and that keeping Star safe will bring Papa back to her and make her family whole again.