On the first day of class, Professor Schlund-Vials does something unheard of. Impressed by this teaching tactic, Ali develops an "office-hours crush" and finds herself welcomed in Professor Schlund-Vials's office. They talk about everything from dogs to family history to race. During these visits, Ali realizes that Professor Schlund-Vials is not only easy to talk to but she's helping Ali work her way through an educational sore spot.
Ali keeps hearing all these lovely things about someone named "Gina Barreca." But when she enrolls in Professor Barreca's Creative Writing course, it's not exactly what she expected. Professor Barreca helps the class unravel their stories, and in the process tells a few of hers; those stories overlap in more ways than you'd expect.