After Shawn Barton's parents die in a plane crash, he makes his way to Tallahassee, Florida, to meet a man, Chad Langston, whom his mother dated when ... Show synopsis After Shawn Barton's parents die in a plane crash, he makes his way to Tallahassee, Florida, to meet a man, Chad Langston, whom his mother dated when she was a student at Florida State University. Chad agrees to become Shawn's guardian. The home-schooled Shawn inherited his remarkable intelligence from his mother, and his ability to run fast from racing pet sled dogs near his former home in a remote area of Alaska. At the age of 13, he applies for admission to Florida State University and is accepted for the only available opening-an unfilled slot for a football player who failed to qualify. By mistake, Shawn plays in the game against FSU's rival, the University of Miami, and becomes an overnight sensation, both as an athlete and teenage idol. Shawn develops an idea for a new source of electrical power that will make gasoline-powered engines obsolete. The author writes, "Although the Shawn Barton character is fictional, he is based on a real person, a student in one of the honors courses I taught while a professor at Florida State."