LISSA SANDERS, an investigative reporter for What Matters Magazine in San Antonio, Texas, struggles for personal integrity and literary relevance in a world gone fashionably toxic.
Unprepared for an editorial meeting, Lissa is forced to report on a re-decorated daycare center, whose students are plagued by a mysterious case of dysentery. When Lissa and her best friend, BUFF, visit the daycare, Lissa decides the juice is to blame. She spots a suspicious man on the playground and Buff connects with a teacher named FELICIA BLAKE.
Lissa’s boyfriend, DR. ADAM SINCLAIR, accidentally drinks her sample of potentially poisoned juice and tells her about the youngest dysentery victim, an infant who remains hospitalized, making Lissa feel guilty. While visiting the juice company, Lissa sees Felicia there and has Buff find out why. Buff learns that Felicia is pregnant and was just dumped by a secret boyfriend.
Having learned about chemical contamination, Lissa has a drunken meltdown after reading the labels of her personal-care products. Buff restores her perspective when he comes over with the news that Felicia has allegedly committed suicide.
Lissa identifies Felicia’s boyfriend as BRAD LINKLATER, an executive at AgroSortium, a chemical and seed conglomerate. Learning that AgroSortium provides additives for the suspect juice, she concludes the juice was deliberately poisoned. She also trips and falls into the arms of a good-looking man in an elevator.
Lissa follows Brad and stumbles on his porcine growth hormone experiment, overhearing that he is also poisoning the Comal River. She is discovered, shot at and has to swim through pig offal, but gets captured and given to Brad’s minion, DIEGO. Diego really works for KAI HUANG, who appears to be a colleague of Brad’s. Diego turns out to be the suspicious man Lissa saw at the Nurturing Nanny and Kai is the good-looking man from the elevator.
Believing she’s been kidnapped by Kai Huang, Lissa escapes but then must go back to rescue Buff. She learns that Kai is on their side and that he wants to stop the purchase of his family’s business to Brad’s company because he believes AgroSortium is buying it to thwart Korea’s ban on GMO and pesticide-laden produce. Kai provides Lissa with AgroSortium emails he got from Diego and reveals that Brad tried to have him killed.
Lissa suspects Brad killed Felicia, she and Buff are targeted by a sniper and Buff is hospitalized. She learns that Brad had the poisoned juice donated to the school through Felicia, to test higher levels of glyphosate on a captive audience, avoiding FDA protocols. Despite finding evidence of EPA and FDA collusion, Lissa is under pressure because AgroSortium is suing Lissa and the magazine. She attends her mother’s birthday party, where sibling rivalry and her mother’s short-term memory loss leave her feeling alienated.
When Lissa discovers that a lawyer is trying to kill her story because her father is counsel for AgroSortium, Lissa gets her fired. She also determines Brad chose the daycare center to target Kai’s nephew, (the youngest victim of the dysentery), believing this would distract Kai from blocking the sale. Lissa is assigned protection by her boss and thinks she is safe to finish her story because Brad has been arrested.
Lissa evades her protectors and goes home to retrieve her forgotten cell phone, but Brad, having made bail waits at Lissa’s apartment and tries to kill her. Lissa fights him off by herself, earning confidence and greater self-respect.
The Huang Produce purchase is canceled, and AgroSortium backs off the glyphosate testing and fires Brad, who has been charged with attempted murder. Lissa’s story is nominated for a Pulitzer, and her sisters show new respect for her career. She also starts to become environmentally aware and gets involved in improving the condition of pigs in captivity.