Paulie Passero, underachiever, high school junior, wants the courage to talk to a girl. A road trip from Chicago to rural Pennsylvania doesn't interest him until his father emphasizes the need for a second driver. Why must they go? Paulie's dying grandmother disowned her son twenty years ago, and fences must be mended. Unprepared for Smalltown USA, Paulie is bored at first but notices a girl in the back of a passing pickup and is immediately enamored.
Guinevere Thompson lives just down the road from Paulie's grandparents. She wants nothing to do with him. It's not that she doesn't like him; she likes him too much to see him beaten up by her three nasty brothers…or worse, her father.
Paulie yearns to help this troubled girl escape the clutches of an abusive father, but will his interference only cause her more harm?