All knowing, everlasting creatures on a planet in another galaxy in the universe find that Earth is in trouble with its wars and environmental destruction. They send someone to teach Earthlings how to live better lives, but the someone is a young, inexperienced youth.
It seems so for the new boy, but Emily sets out to help him overcome his problems anyway just because she likes him. What happens next is her reward.
Wally needs all the support he can get, for his father is dead, too, and domineering Aunt Flo has come to spend the summer with Wally and his bereaved mother. Wanting to be like the daring Jon-o, Wally tries to become good enough at skateboarding to enter a neighborhood competition. His mother is opposed to it, but Jon-o's ghost eggs Wally on. When the day of the competition arrives, nothing goes the way Wally had planned. Will he ever manage to equal Jon-o's success in athletics and with people?
Once she has arrived, though, Jeremy has to admit that Lynette isn't bad company. To entertain her, he invents the Glits, magical creatures who can grant wishes. When he learns that her mother was killed in an accident and that her stepfather doesn't know what to do with her, he begins to worry about what will happen to Lynette at the summer's end. It seems to Jeremy that magic may be the only way to solve her problems.
As she remembers her mother's sad stories about shell ladies, Kelly realizes they are more than just fairy tales. For months there have been trouble signals, signs that she and her father haven't wanted to see. Is it her fault, Kelly wonders. Has she failed he darling mother? And which should come first, her mother's needs or her own struggle for independence?