It's 1983, and twelve-year-old River Starling's life is anything but normal. She was adopted on a whim and came without a birth certificate. Her adoptive parents gave her up to her grandmother when she was only two, but River is certain her parents will come back. River's hopes fall apart when Gram uproots them from their farmhouse and decides to move to Birdsong, West Virginia, the most miserable town River has ever seen. There she makes an unlikely friendship with an unusual boy and learns about acceptance, hard work, forgiveness, and the love of Jesus.