Sarah Byrne was scalded by hot water as a young child, and she carries an ugly disfiguring scar on half of her face. She also carries the pain of having been abused by her family. Her friend, Eric Calhoune, has chosen to stay fat so that he too will show his pain to the world and will be able to keep Sarah company in her misery. How can he help his friend? Will he always have to make a sacrifice to keep her afloat? Once again, Chris Crutcher reaches into the incredibly difficult lives some young people are leading and allows the reader to walk in their shoes. Empathy-building.