At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts - no home, no family, no plan. Her mother died when she was six, and her selfish father hires her out as a companion to a country doctor's elderly mother. Iris, stuck in the middle of 1920s rural Missouri, discovers that "hobo" is short for "homeward bound," and cultivates an eccentric cast of folks into family, creating the home she never had. But when she learns that a neighboring tenant farmer may have had more than his hands on his pregnant daughter, Iris must intervene to save the girl and her unborn baby.
When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and the fear of "Commies" everywhere, Lily's Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere - the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin.