Toddy Bethany is a 13 year- old who lives with her divorced, somewhat religious, and a strict mother and a younger brother. Her mother, Polly, refuses to let her late-night or other privileges like children her age. As a result of this, Toddy sneaks out of the house when her mother goes to work at night. She goes to bars, lies about her age, and flirts with men.
At one such place, she meets a patron who tried to kill her. A 28-year-old man named Norman Easter, a Vietnam veteran rescues her. Toddy lies about her age and falls in love with him. As the relationship develops, she discovers a terrifying secret about Norman.
The setting is in the united states in the spring of 1968 in the Bronx, New York. It was a turbulent year in the country. There were two assassinations within sixty days and riots.