This story begins at the beach: introducing a young, wild, & free child named Katie in her respective home at a marina. Her parents are tragically killed in a summer storm when their crabbing boat is struck by lightning. If not for their dear old family friend Narby who rents their apartment at the marina – Katie would be orphaned.
After the tragedy, they are forced to move to a mysterious farm in the Pine Barrens, and it's a fresh start and a glimmer of optimism since the tragedy. That hope first comes in the form of a young boy named Will. Their friendship will bring readers into their world in the woods, on the farm, and even back on the island. Their bond from childhood friendship to teenage love is halted abruptly with an announcement by Will at the end of high school that turns their world upside down. Katie impulsively decides to go to college in New England just to escape the pain.
She dates a wealthy sailor for the entirety of college, but is caught off-guard when "Brigg" proposes, and – even more so – when he announces they will be moving out west to expand his father's resort business. Katie is frozen with fear when she realizes she'll be away from everything she knew: the island, the woods, Narby, and even Will. The thought of Will still makes her mad though, so she bravely plunges forward.
In a new world of socialites, huge homes, fancy cars, and pretension, her emotions take a turn for the worst, and she feels lost. When her depression gets near the point of suicide, she realizes it's time to rethink if rushing away was the right thing to do after all. Will's actions may have run her out of town, but it's her home too, and she's going back.
When she finally returns, the lies that had her running unfold, and she realizes what a mistake it was to have left in the first place. She only wishes she could turn back the clock to have spent every second of it with Will.
Things have a way of turning back time on their own though, even when starting where you left off… down the Sugar Sand Road.