When Ren sees her mom heading out to dinner with that creep Rick Littleton, she's furious. How could her mom do that to her dad, a soldier stuck over in Afghanistan? Ren decides to run away to the school-turned-boardinghouse in the next town over. Once there, she makes friends with a boy named Hugh, who tells her that the boardinghouse is the site of a mystery. Every night, the owner, Ms. Baxter, searches for a treasure left in the building years ago. If Ms. Baxter can't find it, then the boarding house might shut down for good, and her dream of preserving the town's history by opening a pearl button museum will never come true. By the time Ren, Hugh, and other visitors help find the treasure-a bag of pearls-Ren and her mom also have found a way to forgive each other.