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Alone in a strange country and a bit cynical, 14-year-old refugees Baggy and Abigail are rounded up with other refugee kids. Taken to Transition House at the Plumkettle Learning Center, they await guardians. Photographer Baggy moves to the mountains with the secretive Captain Sodpeg. Abigail, who is losing her sight, gets a guide dog and is invited to live in the carriage house behind Mrs. Plumkettle's on Old Applebutter Hill Rd.
Join Baggy, Abigail and Curly Connor as they fly the Cloud Scooper, sneak around Bar Gundoom Castle and row across an underground lake. Their lives change when they uncover a secret. The powerful and dangerous Heartstone of Arden-Goth, a heart-shaped sapphire, is hidden in Applebutter Hill, and corporate giants place a spy at their school to steal it. They are determined to unmask the spy, but can they trust anyone?
Summer school is mandatory. The friends have two classes together - Survival 101 with everybody's favorite teacher Luther Kohl and Writers' Roundtable with the dreaded Professor Thornhammer. All Plumkettle students study driving, including the blind ones.
With access to the off-limits dark room, the state-of-the-art auto center, and carpentry workshop, Baggy is in his glory. Abigail, a budding songwriter, is enlisted to write music for the children's summer puppet theater. What she really wants, though, is to be an apprentice on the newspaper staff. Prejudice, however, is standing in her way.
As summer heats up, their troubled friend Christopher is viciously bullied. Abigail and Baggy are terrorized by an armed stranger and jealousy over pottery-contest winners gets out of hand. The friends argue about the spy’s identity, but both think it's a teacher. When a desperate Christopher arrives at the carriage house one night with the school cat, the mysteries begin to unravel. In the end, though, it may just be Abby's guide dog Curly Connor who makes the most significant discovery of all.