Absurd coincidences drive a preposterous story of a girl who uncovers secrets of her deceased mother's past. While on a school trip to Washington, D.C., 16-year-old Laura visits the nearby town of Birch Bend, Virginia, where her mother, then known as Jenny, grew up. There Laura discovers that when her mother and her best friend, Megan, were in high school, they deliberately set fire to Megan's house, murdering Megan's parents. After nine years in prison, Jenny changed her name to Jasmine and left the country to start life anew. Readers will wonder at the amazing holes in the story: Jasmine/Jenny wanted to hide her past, yet let drop the name of the town where she grew up? Megan, so fierce to guard the past that she attempts to kill Laura, hasn't also changed her name? In Laura's self-pitying narrative, the action bounces from California to D.C. to Toronto, the teen dialogue rings false, and the point of view shifts awkwardly, especially near the end. A laughable love story is sandwiched in: Laura falls for evil Megan's quivering son. Cardboard, speech-making characters pop in and out of this unsatisfying mystery, leaving readers so removed from the action that they can't appreciate the unraveling of all that Laura has believed.