Tessie Tremaine is mortified when her middle school English teacher, affectionately known as Mean Old Mrs. Parker, assigns a family tree project. As the daughter of parents who were both adopted, Tessie is mortified; she imagines a postage-stamp twig showing nothing but her four immediate family members. As the rest of her classmates begin to create trees filled with many family members, Tessie agonizes over the thought of exposing what her parents call their own little family island. Desperate for help, Tessie turns to her honorary grandmother, who takes her to a rose show where she learns about the art of grafting roses. Suddenly, the family tree project takes on a whole new meaning. In this poignant young adult tale, a girl struggling to find her roots soon discovers that family is much more than who she is related to by blood.