On Thanksgiving Day 2007, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, Ginny, an unmarried academic in her thirties with a newly adopted Indian daughter, and about their son, Douglas, who has recently been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble. But Ginny and Douglas, determined to have a perfect holiday, keep their troubles secret, a skill they have learned from their parents.
As old grudges, personality clashes, and a stove malfunction spiral the Olson's holiday into a tense and foodless afternoon, seventeen-year-old Kijo Jackson and his best friend, Spider, set out from the housing projects on a mysterious job. As these two families—one white, one black—head toward a violent and inevitable encounter, Jennifer Vanderbes masterfully lays bare the fraught lives of these fascinating characters and the lengths to which they will go to protect their families.