Sarah Templeton dreams of escaping a Tennessee town where the kids call her “slanty eyes” or ignore her because she is the only Japanese-American anyone has ever seen. She never defends herself because she cries too easily like her Japanese mother. She wishes she were more like her father whose temper she mistakes for strength. Sarah’s dad keeps secrets about his new job but Sarah hears rumors about accidents at the plant and sick employees. When a strange cloud of gas floats out of the plant and drifts toward town, everyone panics. Sarah forgets her own troubles when her mom who falls into a deep depression after the crisis is over. Sarah understand her mother’s fear of the accident at the plant when she learns about the bomb that destroyed her mother’s in home in Nagasaki. Sarah’s mom recovers enough for a visit to Sarah’s school, but the sound of the fire alarm reminds her mom of the air raid sirens she heard during the World War II. When her mother refuses to leave the school, Sarah has to find a way to wake her mother from the past. As Sarah realizes her mother’s inner strength, she begins to embrace her heritage.