Dan Green is a 14-year-old, fantasy-addicted kid living in a run-down rural village in Northern California. When three extraordinarily handsome strangers arrive carrying nothing but a bag of gold, Dan comes to believe that they are an extraterrestrial family: a mom, a dad, and Lena—a girl Dan’s age.
Dan befriends Lena who, after much prodding, claims that her family arrived in a flying saucer that crashed in the woods. She describes life on her home planet and tells fabulous stories of the family’s travels through the universe. Lena appears to be able to effortlessly acquire amazing skills, ranging from playing classical music to learning languages.
When Dan relates Lena’s stories to his skeptical grandfather—a retired science teacher who believes only in what he can see and touch—the grandfather laughs at Dan for being gullible. He insists that Dan bring him tangible proof that the visitors are actually from outer space.
After Lena’s father performs an astonishing feat, most of the villagers—but not Dan’s grandfather–rally around the strange family, ultimately protecting them from a group of aggressive UFO scientists. The presence of the strangers begins to have a positive affect on the community. Even Dan’s father and uncle, who hadn’t talked in 20 years, become friends.
Dan, who has long dreamed of running away from the boonies, gets the idea of persuading the strangers to take him along after they repair their ship and resume their intergalactic odyssey.
But things aren’t exactly what they seem, and Dan discovers that his true mission is closer to home, while his grandfather learns that there is more to life than cold hard facts.