Riley Veatch was adopted, then orphaned, and has grown up in the foster care system. At age 16 she leaves Akron, Ohio and sets out in search of her birth mother in California. She enrolls in Gossett High School, where her possible aunt, Opal Brown, is an assistant principal. Despite the fact that Opal's sister Pearl denies being a mother, via email from Scandinavia where she lives with her guru, Opal takes Riley in. Riley uses her street smarts to help Opal out, without Opal's knowledge, and Opal tries to keep Riley out of trouble. And thus, their quirky relationship begins.