Jainey O'Sullivan - a lonely, confused, purple-and-green-haired sometime truant - cares so little about high school that on her final standardized test, she writes an essay heaping scorn on the test administrators even as she asks her faceless reader for help. Charlie Wolf, meanwhile, leads a fairytale graduate student life, with just enough money and clout to keep him in books, vodka, a threadbare apartment, and a beautiful, intellectual girlfriend. But the bohemian dream starts to crumble when Charlie takes a job scoring standardized tests and finds himself surrounded by people who are either plodding blindly along or caught up in wild conspiracy theories. When Charlie and Jainey stumble upon one another, they also stumble upon their own bravery and compassion. They try to protect each other from their habitual bad luck and the shadowy threats lurking at the edges of their lives, and what ensues doesn't follow any prescribed course.