As the Whispering Pines’ school year ends, Bobby Brown, almost 13, has been saving his paper route tips for one special thing, The New InterPolar Radio. Bobby is surprised when one of his customers, Mrs. Andrews, gives him a radio and their garden gnome, as partial payment for lawn care. The Andrews will be gone—long gone—leaving their home for the First Dimension, an alternative universe. And the gnome? He talks.
The idyllic hamlet is plagued by tears in the space/time continuum. Some residents move through them as a parlor game and even use them to commute to work. This game becomes serious as more tears randomly appear around town. One wrong step and you’re in the First Dimension; once there, you can rarely get out.