Third grader Isabel "Isa" José is the youngest member of a Filipino family living in suburban Los Angeles. She chronicles the ongoing struggles and ennui of a stiflingly competitive environment, where the things that her family does to harm each other in the name of love and the pursuit of happiness are interrupted by that inexorable force called life.
The Josés are stunned by the diagnosis of colon cancer of 19-year-old wunderkind Makena, a whirling dervish of success. The daily grinds of their family life and strife are thrown into disarray, and for 8-year-old Isa, innocence is something lost before she realized she had it.
As always occurs with sudden grave illness in the family, routines are disrupted, and a new rhythm emerges. But will the gravity, darkness, and reality of a life-threatening disease shift the Josés into greater harmony, finding peace and happiness where little existed before? Or will they be ripped asunder beneath the pressure of surgeries, stressful feuds, and old grudges?
Little Isa, an inquiring mind for an 8-year-old, wants to know...