A competitive athlete, down-to-earth and downright snarky, 14-year-old Anna is the girl least likely to lose herself in a fairy tale. It's her first winter in New York City, where she has just moved with her mother and stepfather, but the city's magic is lost on her. She hates everything about her new life. She especially resents her mother, who has remarried soon after her father's death – too soon for Anna's taste. After another argument, she defiantly sneaks out to ski in Riverside Park.
Much to her surprise she meets another cross-country skier, an attractive, if somewhat eccentric boy about her own age, and develops an immediate crush. Against her better judgment, she follows him into what turns out to be a snow-covered netherworld inhabited by the peculiar Skiers, whose only purpose is to hunt the monstrous creatures known as Wyssun. Mistaken for a boy, Anna is accepted by the Skiers as one of their own, and becomes trapped in the Wyssun World.
Run by the elves - and not the Keebler kind - it's a confusing and dangerous place. Anna has to get back home before the fairy tale turns into a nightmare.
To escape the Wyssun World, Anna has to unlock many doors to yet other worlds; make new friends and unexpected foes; negotiate glaciers and battle tunnel-dwelling beasts. While she is determined to win the affection of her oblivious crush, she is threatened by the advances of a mysterious half-elven sorcerer, a figure of the complicated adult world she so resents.
As Anna struggles against the monstrous world, she fights her inner monsters as well. Before she discovers the truth about love, she has to learn the value of loss, only then can she find her way home. Of course, it is shorter than she thinks.