Big brother, Corvin, is Owl Melonvine’s only source of comfort, growing up on a farm with uncaring parents—and now he’s running away. Her outrage is directed at their father, who can’t seem to accept that Corvin is a sensitive artist and might be gay.
Corvin has his sights set on the progressive East, a territory across the American wasteland rumored to be full of advanced machinery, high-quality goods, and cultured people. Owl has every intention of running away herself when she finishes school at sixteen, so she can make a new life with Corvin in a more enlightened city.
But when an encounter with local thugs turns to bloodshed, spilled rumors about Corvin shatter Owl’s image of her beloved big brother. He’s trying to flee town for a disturbing reason that doesn’t have anything to do with their father’s bigotry. Owl must decide whether to help Corvin run away to their dream in the East, or condemn him to a fate the town—and their father—thinks he deserves.