Growing up on Toronto's desolate margins in the eighties, sixteen-year-old Mel Sprague has a lot on her mind: The A-bomb. Acid rain. Where her dad's been hiding out for the last fifteen years .... Mel's younger sister, Lora, knows that despite her sister's 'talent for misery,' Mel's preoccupations aren't unusual. After all, Mel might stay out all night now and again, but in the Sprague family, teenagers are troubled by definition. When she vanishes, however, what were once the diversions of a teenage girl are taken up as evidence, leading investigators to ask if Mel Sprague chose to run away, this time for good. Lora, for her part, just knows that someone has taken her sister and, disquietingly, fears that it wasn't a stranger.