Allie Nicholas is a sixth grader with the ability to see ghosts. A few weeks after helping the ghost of a young girl solve a murder, Allie is approached by another spirit to do the same for him. Allie’s class is doing a project for Elder’s Day that involves interviewing an older person. The ghost encourages her to pick Mrs. Hobbs, a woman who works in the school cafeteria, as the subject of her project. Although every child in the school is afraid of Mrs. Hobbs, Allie agrees to do it if it will help lay the ghost to rest. Soon, everywhere Allie goes, fires start suspiciously.
Life is hard for 12-year-old Lucas. First Uncle Asa dies of consumption, then Lizy and Pa. Now Mama is sick. And Lucas is the only one left to take care of her and their Connecticut farm. By the time his neighbor tells him of a strange, new cure, it is too late - Mama has just died. Reeling with sorrow, Lucas wanders until he sees a "help wanted" sign for a doctor's apprentice. He feels better while he is helping to pull teeth, visit the sick, and bury the dead.