Every decision affects the next.
Tessa doesn't understand why she can't stop cheating on her boyfriends. She only knows she gets a rush and a feeling of power from her trysts in neighboring towns -- and that rush is so welcome when there is so much ugliness and pressure at home. But when the wrong person from her high school accidentally walks in on her in the most revealing of situations, Tessa suddenly finds herself doing everything she can to cover her tracks.
Jack doesn't see his habit for destruction of public property or his love of screwing with authority figures as anything but a way to release the pressure from his home life. His mom is an all-out mess, and his home life is absolutely whacked-out crazy, but it's his mom and his life, and he'll do whatever he needs to in order to keep it together.
The story of Ripple navigates Tessa and Jack through their all-too-adult lives as they wrestle with their own destructive habits and struggle to find each other as well as the best parts of themselves.