Sixteen-year-old Polly MacKay talks to animals and sees the future. It starts innocently enough, just glimpses of everyday life that hadn’t happened yet. Then comes her first vision of death—a neighbor falling down the stairs and cracking open her skull. With no idea when this accident will happen, Polly can’t stop it, and Mrs. Olsen dies. Devastated, Polly swears off seeing the future—as if she actually has a choice.
At Mrs. Olsen’s funeral, Polly begins a relationship with eighteen-year-old Nick Kane. New in town and living with the Olsens, gossips say that he had something to do with Mrs. Olsen’s death. His outcast status—and his dark good looks—draw Polly to him.
Polly’s grandmother viciously warns Polly away from Nick. He is too old, too experienced—trouble waiting to happen. Polly, sick of Gram’s nagging, ignores the warning. So when Nick sneaks onto the farm to see Polly, she embraces it. When Nick makes her see a vision of the past, she realizes that he, too, is special—that they belong together.
Happily-ever-after is not in the cards, at least not yet. Brandon, Mrs. Olsen’s son and a classmate of Polly’s, catch Polly and Nick kissing in the stockroom of the general store. While Polly worries that he will spill the beans to Gram, Polly has another vision of death—this time Rebecca Olsen, Mrs. Olsen’s daughter and Brandon’s younger sister.
Polly confides in her mother—about both the visions and her feelings for Nick. When Polly tells Sarah that she wants to run away with Nick, her mother grows wild, telling her she cannot leave Delphi because she would not be safe. In all the years of Sarah's committal, this is the first time Polly has seen the “crazy” in her and that shakes her more than her mother’s warnings about leaving town.
When she next sees Nick, he asks her the real reason her mom is locked up. Polly tells him something she has never told anyone before—that her mother tried to kill someone soon after having Polly. Sarah had insisted that the man was another Greek god there to kill Apollo’s child, and the court had locked her away.
Polly successfully saves Rebecca from getting run over. Her elation is tempered by Rebecca’s cat, who informs Polly that the mice in the Olsen household are “unnatural.” Disturbed by this news, and depressed that she cannot share her visions with anyone, she decides to tell Nick everything the next time they are together.
When Nick next comes to visit her in the hayloft, she tells him about her visions. He is overjoyed and confides that his father is the god Pan, and his mother was Mrs. Olsen’s sister. He also shows his jealousy of Brandon Olsen, who had talked to Polly after school that day. Polly assures Nick that Brandon only wanted to thank her for saving Rebecca, even though her conversation with Brandon had left her with an unsettling new interest in him.
Polly also tells Nick about a strange man, dressed in a black hoodie, who she calls the Reaper. She first saw him the day she had the vision of Mrs. Olsen’s death, and he has been present at every bad event that has happened since. She believes that he is the “unnatural” power the animals have been sensing, as well as the cause of the danger to the Olsens. Nick says that he has seen the Reaper around, too, watching him. He thinks the Reaper is after him and Polly, because of who they are and what they can do.
Nick’s suspicions prove partly true. When Nick sees Brandon holding Polly’s hand, Polly tries to find him to explain, but the Reaper drags her into an alley. Nick comes to her rescue, and reveals the Reaper’s identity—Michael Donovan, Nick’s old social worker. Donovan says he is in Delphi to stop Nick, and to tie up loose ends with Polly’s mother. Nick suggests that Polly think about moving in with him so he can protect her from Donovan.
Polly has another vision, this time of Mr. Olsen dying in a car accident. She tries to forget about it for a moment when Nick comes calling again.
Gram finds Polly and Nick fooling around in the hayloft. She throws Nick off the property, then slaps Polly and accuses her of being a harlot. Polly runs through the fields, crying, until she stumbles into the bull’s field. The bull tries to gore her, but she forces him to stop with a power she never knew she had. This makes her realize that Nick is right—as half-gods, the rules don’t apply to them. She goes back to the farmhouse determined to run off with Nick, but her Gramps talks to her into staying at least until morning.
When Polly tells her mother that she wants to become an emancipated minor, her mother agrees—until Polly says that Nick is Pan’s son. Sarah loses control, slamming her into a wall, insisting that she cannot leave Delphi with Nick. The orderlies rescue Polly from her mother, and Polly is distraught over her mother’s total collapse of sanity.
With her mother’s help, Polly saves Mr. Olsen. Brandon comes to see her, accusing her of knowing when these bad things are going to happen. She manages to nip that in the bud, but Nick sees him leaving the farm and is instantly jealous. Polly assured him it was nothing, and Nick counters with proposing marriage.
Polly has a vision of a rattlesnake killing Brandon. She tries to warn him in a way that won’t make him suspicious of her abilities. She enlists her animal friends and Nick to help watch out for Brandon. Thinking she has things under control, Polly relaxes a little—until she has a gruesome vision of a pack of stray dogs tearing Nick apart. She comes to an even more horrific conclusion: These attacks happen at the same time.
Want to know what happens next? Look for The Oracle of Delphi, Kansas and find out!
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