Penny Beck is a girl who says yes when she means no. She keeps to herself, follows the rules, and does what she’s told. After a disastrous experience with her boyfriend, she's determined to change from the spineless person she’s always been into the strong woman she wants to become. All she needs is a little practice.
On a cross-country trip to check on her grandpa, she strives to become bolder and more outspoken with the strangers she meets. Penny's plan is to practice saying and doing what she wants without worrying about what anyone else thinks.
Then she meets Archer, an introspective loner to whom she finds herself drawn. She realizes she does care what he thinks, very much. Will Penny be able to stick to her plan, or will she revert back to her people-pleasing ways?
When Fay learns she'll be spending the summer with her cousin Celia, she imagines lots of girl time, hanging out with Celia's friends, and maybe even meeting a boy and having a summer fling.
Instead, her uncle is acting crazy, holding a grudge against the Dearing family for unknown reasons, and Celia is spending all her time with her boyfriend. Fay is lonely in a town where she doesn't know anyone.
But then there's Malcolm Dearing, offering to keep her company. He has wide, wide shoulders and a contagious laugh. He writes terrible poetry and looks at her with warmth in his eyes.