Journey is eleven the summer his mother leaves him and his sister, Cat, with their grandparents. He is sad and angry, and spends the summer looking for the clues that will explain why she left.
Journey searches photographs for answers. He hunts family resemblances in Grandma's albums. Looking for happier times, he tries to put together the torn pieces of the pictures his mother shredded before her departure. And he also searches the photographs his grandfather takes as the older man attempts to provide Journey with a past. In the process, the boy learns to look and finds that, for him, the camera is a means of finding things his naked eye has missed--things like inevitability of his mother's departure and the love that still binds his family.