After being evacuated and spending six weeks in Cleveland, Violet Bookman returns to find her beloved town of Question Mark partially-demolished by fire, flood, and the strange pulse of energy that was unleashed from The Void by the Order of the Arranger. Lost-Lake Drive-In has temporarily closed, Moonlite Grove RV Park has been destroyed, and Professor Chik N Crunch has been replaced by the somewhat suspicious Holy Romaine Empire. Violet recognizes that in order to stop the entire town from disappearing, she must act swiftly and figure out a way to stop time from destroying everything she loves.
Once high school resumes, Violet attempts to reconnect with her best friend Iris, but Iris is still upset from their argument before the fire regarding Titus Towns. She goes to check on Bruno Ellis, her ally and a Department of Streets and Sanitation worker who, before the fire, accompanied her to Lost Lake and who is now recuperating from a gunshot wound. Violet knocks, receives no answer, and leaves a scarf her grandmother helped her knit.
The next day, Violet and Iris are able to resolve their argument when Violet explains that there may be another way to hold Titus Towns accountable for the emotional and psychological damage he has caused to Iris’ older sister: Violet’s mother was local newspaper reporter who accumulated evidence about the Towns brothers and all Violet and Iris need to do is locate the file and turn it over to the police.
On the way to ask Ms. Twombley at the library for help, Violet and Iris discover a message in chalk on the side of the library, which when decoded, warns: Everything ends at the beginning. While searching for an answer to the clue, Violet encounters Officer Ron Dublowski, sitting in front of the Holy Romaine Empire, bemoaning the loss of his favorite restaurant.
Where does the clue Violet discovered actually lead? And what other new threats will reveal themselves?