We start in the city of Fresno. Our main protagonist is Eddie. He is very unhappy with his life and life decisions. There's not much to in the city of Fresno other than eat, sleep, and watch out for drive-bys. He was going to a college for air-conditioning when all the sudden his cousin Jesús was killed. He's trying to find who killed Jesús while he's struggling with many things he has going in life.
Eddie has no clue who murdered Jesus. The only thing he knows is that it was someone with yellow shoes. Recently he has became friends with a man named Angel who is a bit of a gangster. Eddie really has no clue how to think about him. After knowing Angel for a while not really being good friends but friends in general, Eddie meets a girl that tells him that Angel is the one who murdered Jesus.
Eddie is soon greeted by his old friend Jose who has just came back from the marines. He doesn't get involved in gang and drug activity and is very proud of it. Jose and Eddie are together when all the sudden Mr Stiles red truck appears. Jose approaches the truck but is attacked by gangsters. While eddie is trying to call Mr Stiles about his truck, Jose is stabbed.
Eddie knows now that his best bet is just to leave Fresno. Soon after him and Angel fight and Angel is left in the hospital by Eddie. Doing this Eddie thinks that Angel must be after him now. Leaving Fresno is what is on his mind now since Angel will probably be trying to attack Eddie. Eddie just can't leave like that so he goes to an old friend he knows will offer stability.
The old friend turns out being his old coach at his old playground. The coach tells Eddie he should probably join the military. Eddie takes this advice and ends up enlisting in the Navy. That same afternoon the coach takes Eddie and Jose fishing. Eddie states that he loves nature and the water and hopes the Navy will teach him to swim better.
The last we see of Eddie he is in a van with new recruits. They experience engine trouble and are stalled off the side of the road just outside of fresno. Eddie runs into the same man that sold Jose onions earlier in the book. Now Eddie, the recruits, and the man who sold Jose onions are left digging onions.