Maria Peterson is looking forward to turning thirteen. She envisions new adult prestige and responsibility, like attending abolitionist meetings and listening to inspiring speakers like Sojourner Truth. She doesn't bank on all the unexpected changes that her thirteenth year brings, however. For starters the City of New York wants to turn her "neat little settlement" into a magnificent park. Now that Maria has made a new friend, she's even more determined to stay. But soon Maria discovers that her friend may have issues even more dire than being thrown out of her home. Will Maria be able to save her home and help her friend? Or will she just rue the day her thirteenth year began?