Clara is thirteen and lives in Evanston with her parents – and, until she passed away six weeks ago, her sister Lola. Since Lola’s death, Clara has seen her ghost everywhere. She can’t even begin to accept that her best friend is gone.
Halfway across the world, Yuming is also thirteen. She grew up in a village in southern China, but after her grandparents died, she went to the city to track down her brother, who’d gone off in search of adventure months before. Instead of finding him, Yuming is abducted by a factory owner, who forces her and twenty other children to spend long days sewing purses bound for America.
In a moment of desperation, Yuming writes a note and hides it in the pocket of one of the purses. To whom it may concern: Please, we need help! Thousands of miles away, Clara is at the mall when she finds Yuming’s note.
The note connects the two girls, sending Clara on a journey to rescue Yuming – and accept her sister’s death – while encouraging Yuming to make a bold decision to rescue herself.