To begin all over again is a classic American dream. But it's remarkably hard to do, as Irish émigrés Johnny and Sarah discover when they hit the streets of modern-day Manhattan, their two spunky young daughters in tow, and emerge into a realm as comical and adventure-filled as it is strange and terrifying. The family faces a dizzying new future -- but first they must face down a past that haunts every single one of them.
With no cash to spare, Johnny and Sarah settle in a chaotic New York tenement and attempt to turn the dilapidated setting into a true home. From dragging an iffy-looking air conditioner across Manhattan to finding make-do jobs, nothing comes without a fight for the couple. And yet, while they see American as rife with challenges, dangers and weirdness, their daughters see it as a magical place where anything can happen, a place that might release them all from the anguish of what has come before. Then, on Halloween, Christy and Ariel dare to knock on the door of "the screaming man," a reclusive neighbor named Mateo and everything changes. As the family heads for a crisis, Mateo becomes their unlikely ally in the territory where hope, faith and even magic hold sway.