Patty Bergen is a teenager in a Jewish family living in the American South during World War II. Patty feels like an outcast even in her own family and is unable to understand why her father can't seem to love her. Her town eventually becomes host to a prisoner of war camp. A young german soldier escapes from this camp, and Patty finds him hiding in her secret places in the woods outside of town. After getting to know him she ends up harboring him from his captors, and, in the way of many adolescents, falls in love with him. Patty knows what she is risking to help him, but in his company she feels important, special, and respected as she has never been. In the end, his regard lifts her self-esteem and helps her to face the heartbreaking events to come.