Maya, the main character is in her homeroom in America. She just received a permission slip for the spring school dance. She doesn't think she'll be allowed to go, because her parents are used to their cultures from Kazakhstan, where Maya and her family are originally from.
Maya has to go over to her brother, Nurzhan's, school because he got in a fight. The principal had to meet with their father, who doesn't speak very much English. Maya has to translate for her father, but purposely changes what the principal is saying to get her brother out of most of the trouble.
Maya gets in trouble with her parents for goofing off with Daniel, the boy Maya likes. Her parents are so mad that they barely speak to her in the time that follows the incident. The sliver of hope Maya had is gone, because she knows that there is no way that she could get permission for the dance now.
In thanks for her lying about the fight, Nurzhan talks to his parents and convinces them to give permission for Maya to go to the dance. They decide that she can only go if she takes Nurzhan as her chaperone. Maya is overjoyed, because she thought that there was no way her parents would ever let her go. Her mom even gave Maya the bracelet that Maya's grandmother gave her mother for her first dance.
Maya goes to the dance and hangs out with her friend Shannon, David, the boy Shannon likes, and Daniel, the boy Maya likes. Maya enjoys herself so much, that she almost forgets about Nurzhan until it's time to leave. He sat in a chair by the door for most of the dance.
That night, Maya thanks her brother, because she knows that it was him that made it possible for her to go to the dance. If he hadn't been willing to talk to their parents, or go as her chaperone, Maya would have only heard of the dance from her friends.