While preparing for a class paper about the aftermath of political tragedies, stories of survival come alive before contemporary high school student Ruth. In the aftermath of Katrina, two young people struggle to survive in the face of extreme disaster. In 1945 Belgium, an adolescent Jewish girl struggles to maintain her identity and dignity. And, in the Congo, a girl faces situations that stretch beyond the devastating and into the unspeakable. Each of these stories interconnect in ways that remind Ruth (and the audience) of the incredible suffering mankind has endured and persisted through.