Global warming has continued to do its worst. Earth is hotter; the seas have risen; climate zones have moved; there has not been the wonderful increase in arable land envisioned by some optimists. As a result, political upheaval has produced new, fragmented, and from what we see, mostly repressive governments.
Nere Hanson is a teenage girl living in the Western Collective, somewhere along what was the southern California coastline. She remembers a happier family past when her father and mother were both marine scientists, and her older brother was still with them. Now, her father is dead, her brother has run off after a steady deterioration of his relationship with their mother, and Nere herself, with weak eyes and weak lungs, is not happy anywhere but in the ocean, with the dolphins her mother still works with. It's a tough life, but it is a life.
Their dangerous secret is that Nere and her mother, Gillian, are both telepaths.