Lots of crazy stuff happens, because Poppy runs away from the woman who has been "caring" for her. The woman actually teaches her daughters, and other girls like Poppy how to steal, in exchange, she gives them a roof over their heads. She beats them if they don't steal enough to her liking.
Poppy meets Justin, and he tells her about jewels that grow in rocks. He also tells her how goats are very good pets, and they don't smell, like she thinks they do. He invites her to come back and meet his pet goat, Ticktock.
She goes back to meet the pet goat, and see the goat house. Poppy also meets Justin's sister, who is marrying the town's Methodist Minister. His sister is nice to Poppy. She cleans her up, brushes her hair, and gives Poppy an old dress of hers.
That night, Poppy runs away, and stays in the goat's house. Then the woman finds her and tells her to steal the key to the jewelry store, so they can rob the store. If Poppy doesn't steal the key, she threatens to kill the goat!
Justin makes a mistake at the jewelry store, and Poppy gets blamed, even though she had nothing to do with it. Things just get crazier from here. The Great Chicago Fire happens, and every one's lives will change.
I read this in the bathtub, and damaged the book. I was very mad, because this is now one of my favorite books. I highly recommend this book for all ages.