Born and raised in the US, seventeen-year-old Arwa is looking for a special gift to give to her grandmother Laila, a university professor in Chicago. Never in her wildest dreams did she expect to find such an unbelievable present. Together with her best friend Sarah, she embarks on an exciting adventure to find out how her Grandma's present ended up in Chicago, all the way from Jaffa, Palestine.
As the story of a family of Palestinian immigrants unfolds, Arwa must find the right balance between two cultures and come to terms with her family's painful history.
The events of this novel take place in Chicago, where the two main characters live. Grandma Laila is a professor at one of the universities in Chicago, and her granddaughter Arwa is getting ready to start her university studies. The two stories of Laila and Arwa unfold at the same time. Laila takes us back in time to her life with her family in Jaffa, Palestine and later to their refuge in Beirut and finally to the United States with her husband, where they study and work and get naturalized. Arwa is finding it hard to balance between her Lebanese/Palestinian culture and the American culture she was born and brought up in. She is on a mission to discover her roots and come to terms with the loss of her father during the Israeli invasion of Beirut before she was even born.
An old family photograph in Laila's sitting room taken in Jaffa plays an important role in the novel. It shows Laila as a little girl hugging her doll Sally. When Nada, the youngest grandchild, asks her grandmother to find her a similar looking doll, the search begins. It is not an easy task, and Laila asks Arwa to help her find a look-alike on eBay. While searching the site, to her complete amazement Arwa stumbles upon Sally, her Grandma's original doll. She decides to follow the trail of Sally and find out how she got all the way to Chicago from Jaffa.