It's Christmas Eve..
Jubliee Dougal is having a fine time. Her parents are out getting the newest piece for their beloved collection of Flobie Christmas Village houses, and she will be spending a romantic night with her boyfriend, Noah. Until, of course, her parents are arrested during a scramble to get one of the limited-edition numbered pieces, and she is stuck on a train to see her grandparents.
Unfortunately, a storm is rolling toward the East Coast, and Jubilee’s train is stranded in Gracetown, North Carolina, hundreds of miles from where she needs to be. She is stuck on a dark, unmoving train, and when she escapes to the Waffle House across the highway from where the train is stuck, she is followed by an entire cast of characters, including fourteen hyperactive cheerleaders. At the Waffle House, she meets Stuart, a local high school student and Target employee whose car got stuck up the road. Stuart makes her an offer–she can accept some of the plastic bags he has been using as a makeshift hat and gloves and come back to his house for shelter, or she can stay put. Jubillee looks around at the chaos erupting all around her and decides to take a chance.
Jubilee’s tale is one of three inwoven stories, which cover the events of that night and the following two days . . . and the chain of events that is set off when Jubilee and her fellow passengers are released on Gracetown. While Jubilee learns the dangers of taking the shortcut, a death race to the Waffle House begins across town, a broken phone leads to heartbreak, and the fate of a teacup-sized pig hangs in the balance.