At the age of fourteen, Venus Black shoots her stepfather. The circumstances of the crime are revealed throughout the book, as Venus comes out of juvenile prison, changes her name, and attempts to re-build her life with a new identity. Family is a major theme throughout this novel, the family Venus makes, and the family of origin she can never completely leave behind. In spite of the violent crime at the beginning of the novel, this reads like YA, and nearly all is resolved by the end.