A teenage Ashley Ames is painfully growing up in a rural area before the technology boom. Her parents are bitterly divorced and caught up in their own lives, too busy to care about what goes on with Ashley. However, she does find support from her stepmother Ruth.
Ashley bounces back and forth between her parents’ homes, with good reason. Either she moves because it’s gone bad or they throw her out.
Ashley’s behavior is erratic and self-destructive at home and at school. She gets selected to participate in a Scared Straight program, at a prison. It helps for a while.
A young man, Ryan doing a repair job at Ellen’s house, Ashley’s mother, notices Ashley. She has just moved back in with her. As Ashley goes through high school her escapades get her into trouble, while she deals with deep depression leading to a suicide attempt.
She has struggled but eventually finds her way out.