It's 1968. A thirteen year-old loner obsessed with outer space flees his abusive father and alcoholic mother for the lure of California. Without money or a plan, he barely survives alone on the streets of Los Angeles, conversing with the ghost of his beloved dog, until a fateful encounter leads him to Venice Beach, known at the time as the "Slum-by-the-Sea." The boy renames himself Moon after his favorite celestial object, symbolizing his quest for something that will shine light on him, just as the sun illumines the moon. Over the next two years he assembles a new family of his own making. In this powerfully engaging coming-of-age novel, Moon struggles with first loves, confusion over his sexual identity, painful rejections and haunting memories from his childhood, all during a time of cultural upheaval over the Vietnam War. His search to figure out who he is culminates in a shocking and unexpected discovery.