Riley Brennan is a freshman at Grande Falls High School; the only high school in the small, quaint New England town. When tragedy strikes her family, she is forced to search deep inside her core for the strength to handle its rip tide effects. Sam Patrick, her best friend since pre-school, does her best to help Riley tread water. Riley's instinct is to retreat and withdraw from the world. However, her spunky Nana Catherine has other ideas. As her freshman year comes to an end, Riley learns she will spend the summer at Nana Catherine's house on Cape Cod, just in time for the Gull's Point Summer Festival. The house holds many childhood memories for Riley and her younger sister, Jessica. The two sisters enjoy spending their days at the beach as well as reliving family traditions. When Riley meets a local lifeguard named Doyle, her thoughts, actions, and expectations of the world are challenged. Riley tries her best to prevent Doyle from getting too close, but she soon learns that because of something special in his past, he has a way of understanding her like no one else. With the help of Doyle, Nana Catherine, her world-famous lemonade, and the magic of the ocean, Riley is able to appreciate the importance of her friends and family, and the necessity of letting some people in. Riley's journey compels her to discover who she is, as well as the difference between family values and the value of family.