High school senior Hallie Mayhew spends her days traipsing from one lavish Montecito estate to the next...spraying ant poison. Between her dad’s pest control company, her mom’s pond cleaning service, and her side gig at a tourist hotspot in Santa Barbara, Hal puts the “work” in working class. But Hal has qualms about gassing gophers. She’s tired of ditching friends to skim dead fish from fountains, and she’s weary of divorced-parent politics. So Hal has a plan: win the prestigious Verhaag Scholarship, go to an east coast school, and never come back.
But the Verhaag Scholarship has a proud history of nepotism and a last-minute contender just crawled out of the woodwork. Hal’s parking lot nemesis has usurped the Yearbook Committee, depriving her of her only extracurricular credit. To make matters worse, her Montecito clients are in a defensive frenzy over a rash of estate burglaries, and if her jobs keep making her tardy, she may not even graduate.
With her college plans rapidly derailing, Hal is forced to enlist the help of Spencer Salazar: the dim, infuriating (and kinda hot) rich kid next door. Hal’s willing to do anything to win the scholarship, but her side gigs are creating a tangled web that might keep her stuck in Santa Barbara forever, and now she’s wondering—maybe too late—if she misjudged the boy next door.