Thirty years after many people mysteriously vanished the survivors form groups and clash over their beliefs. Renzie is a woman born shortly after the Vanishing and lives in a massive, interconnected house with a group of people surrounded by other groups. A large gathering of people from around the region has everyone excited and this year will be near the ruins of San Francisco where Renzie's group lives. Renzie is friends with a young man living nearby with a group called Watchers that won't sleep unless they have guards watching them to be sure they don't vanish like people did before.
As the gathering draws closer, threats begin to surface from clashes with Homers who preserve the homes of vanished people believing they will return one day and a religious cult called the Heaven Bounders that believe the righteous were taken and the ones left behind must repent. The Bounders are violent and unpredictable.
The children in the house begin to show odd behavior like popping up in odd places or seperating from people they call ghosts. Renzie confronts the children about being mean and they say the "ghosts" are dead everywhere else and they can't jump.
People become alarmed when they see things partially vanishing like children running up a set of stairs to nowhere, but disappearing at the top anyway. Also, a rope tied to a pully vanishes at the top, but remains suspended in air.
The children admit that they can pass between dimensions where different people are alive, the house is built differently, and different events occurred after the Vanishing. This is investigated, but no conclusions are reached.
The Bounders attack and burn the house. Renzie and the others fight them off and save the gathering. Renzie goes into the burning house to save a girl. Some of the children pass through a dimension where the house is burning differently. They rescue Renzie, but the girl that is a "ghost" dies because she fails to jump dimensions.
The group recovers and begins to rebuild their home.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is a very different look on the idea of a vanishing and the sociology of the groups is interesting.
Best scene in story:
I enjoy Renzie being taken through the alternate dimensions of the house during their escape. It has a sort of Through the Looking Glass feel.
Opinion about the main character:
Renzie is written very well. She is a strong, female lead and shows depth in her thinking and emotions.