Sixteen-year-old Berry Morgan lives with her mother in Rockville, Maryland, where her mother works as a reading tutor. Berry's father, a lobbyist, lives in San Francisco with his girlfriend. He comes in and out of Berry's life unpredictably. A year and a half ago, he showed up at her school with shocking news: Berry's sister was dead. While working as a volunteer at a school in Capetown, South Africa, Laura had been brutally murdered.
Now Berry sets out on a two-week trip to South Africa with her father to attend a memorial service for Laura. He has arranged some other activities as well: a business meeting in Johannesburg during which Berry awaits him at a posh hotel; a guided tour of Soweto by minivan; and three days at Krueger National Park, where they live in round huts and go out spotting giraffes by day and elephants, leopards, and lions by night. Berry and her father's painful journey forces them to look beyond their own grieving and bear witness to a country's tortured search for truth and reconciliation.