Arthur Rhodes knows he’s different. Severely OCD, he dreams of popularity and Ashley Green, a girl who won’t even look at him. His older brother, Keith, was in the Army. He’s currently at home taking out all his PTSD-induced rage on Arthur. Arthur’s mother is rarely home. She donates all her time to veterans’ organizations. His father, an anally-retentive Major in the Marine Corps, is currently head of security at Ames Research Center. Between his OCD and his family life, Arthur’s only friend is Emilio Luna who has Tourette Syndrome.
Emilio’s symptoms are twitching and inappropriate outbursts. Arthur barely notices his friend’s idiosyncrasies. As a pair, they’ve suffered torture, bullying and ostracizing through every level of school since Arthur’s family moved to the Silicon Valley.
When Arthur’s military father forces him to go camping, Emilio accompanies him. A space pod crashes in the deep woods on Mt. Shasta and the two sixteen-year-old boys discover Tonigen Dweezil Emyris, a cryonically preserved young Nysian from the Cygnus system. They take the alien home and defrost him, and that's when their entire lives begin to change.