Fifteen-year-old Rose is trying to make sense of her world. Her mother - a beautiful woman with stiletto heels, bright clothes and the synthetic gleam of a blonde wig - has vanished, and Rose is convinced that she must be in danger. Unable to cope with the possibility of having been abandoned, Rose uses her vivid imagination to construct her own explanation for her mother's disappearance. Her father suspiciously carries on with his life and seems to be in no hurry to contact the police. Coupled with Rose's newfound knowledge that her father is not actually the ringleader of a circus, she begins to doubt that he is even her real father. As Rose pieces together snippets of remembered conversations and the half-truths she is fed by adults, her own story about her mother's whereabouts grows ever more romantic, and ends up being just as difficult to accept as the truth.