Ali is a local girl, a high achiever, and yet she feels out of place amidst the artsy types at the school. She slavishly copies the other students in how they dress and even in the art they create. She has little sense of who she is.
When the two of them get assigned to work on a project together to trace how their heritage has informed their art, they quickly make a shocking discovery: Niko and Ali have the same father! Neither of them have ever met him, but with some research, they discover that he might be living in New York. So, while trying to keep up on their studies, they decide to try to track him down to see if they can reconnect with him. The search causes both of them to confront the parts of themselves that they are uncomfortable with and subsequently to grow.
Overall, this a well-written story about self-identity and finding oneself.. For Ali, this is the traditional trope of discovering her own voice by ceasing to copy others. It also involves her becoming comfortable embracing her feelings for another girl. For Niko, it is about connecting with his Asianess (raising several issues about anti-Asian racism along the way). Either way, the novel has a well-paced dramatic arc and delivers a very satisfactory ending.