Vada Sultenfuss has a holiday coming up, and an assignment: to do an essay on someone she admires and has never met. She decides she wants to do an assignment on her mother, but quickly realizes she knows very little about her. She manages to get her father to agree to let her go to LA to stay with her Uncle Phil and do some research on her mother. Once in LA, she finds herself under the protection of Nick, the son of Phil's girlfriend, who at first is very annoyed at losing his holidays to escort a hick *girl* around town. However, he soon becomes more involved in the difficult search.