It is Bianca’s first day at Evernight Academy and she has decided to run away to make a statement to her parents who are teachers there. She grabs a few things and heads out into the woods to spend the day skipping her first classes. There is a shadow that starts following her. She runs and it chases her. Bianca is tackled by a guy named Lucas who was trying to save her from whatever she was running from. They talk about how neither of them wants to go to Evernight, but must face the inevitable. Lucas tells her about how his ancestor was kicked out for dueling his first week and he is there to restore the family name. Bianca heads back to the school and Lucas disappears.
At orientation, Bianca is assigned a room. She hangs around to see if she can spot Lucas, but no luck. She goes up and meets Patrice, her roommate, and likes how business-like she is. One of her friends, Courtney, stops by and Bianca embarrasses herself trying to overcome her shyness. She ends up going back to her parent’s apartment in one of the towers of the school for dinner and to pack her things for the dorm. She is still upset about leaving her hometown for this place. Her parents try to make it all about her growing up, but Bianca knows it is about what they want for her. She takes a walk and then makes up with her parents.
Bianca starts out her first day of school hanging with Patrice because she doesn’t know anyone else. She sees Lucas, but he acts like he doesn’t know her. She goes through her classes and seems to like most of her teachers (not Mrs. Bethany, the headmistress). Courtney comes along and invites Patrice and Bianca to a party in the woods. They accept. Later that night, they go together. Bianca stays off by herself and only talks to a guy from her history class (which her mom teaches) named Balthazar. She skips out when Courtney steals him away and runs into Lucas. He explains that he was avoiding her because she was hanging out with the cool kids, but he now realizes that she isn’t like them. They agree to see each other again soon and then sneak back into their respective dorms.
Bianca argues with Mrs. Bethany over which folklore is the most known (vampires or ghosts) when she assigns Dracula. After class, Balthazar suggests a book to Bianca before running off to avoid Courtney. During lunch, Bianca approaches Vic for the first time to ask him where Lucas is. He points her in the right direction, and she finds Lucas coming out of Mrs. Bethany’s house that is on the grounds. He explains that he was making sure his mom signed the form to allow him into Riverton on free weekends. She finds this to be a reasonable excuse, especially when he says he wants to spend time with her there. Later that night, Bianca finds Raquel crying in the bathroom because she keeps dreaming about vampires (and hearing them on the roof). Bianca helps to calm her fears before they go back to their rooms.
All of the out casted kids of Evernight can’t seem to get on the shuttle to Riverton fast enough. Vic saves a sit next to Bianca for Lucas and they ride into town together. They go to see an old movie. As it turns out, her parents are chaperoning the theater, but they decide to stay anyway. Afterwards, they go to a small pizza shop. Lucas explains his theory that Bianca’s parents don’t want her to learn about the world, but to be just like them. Some men come over because he raised his voice and tell him to be nice to Bianca. Lucas starts fighting them. Bianca storms out and Lucas follows, but she refuses to talk to him the entire way back.
Raquel tries to reassure Bianca that she did the right thing (leave when a guy gets violent). Vic talks to Bianca to make sure they are still friends and to let her know that Lucas is moody because of what happened. Bianca starts spending a lot of time studying with Balthazar. After a school-yard type fight that Erich lords over Lucas, Balthazar asks Bianca to the Autumn Ball and she accepts.
Bianca’s mom helps her get ready for the dance in the apartment. She meets Balthazar and they dance. Bianca finally feels like she fits in at Evernight, but then she remembers Lucas and how she doesn’t want to be like the rest of them. Balthazar takes her outside for some air and he asks who she is in love with. She tells him about Lucas and he understands that they are just friends. Lucas comes by and gets jealous. Bianca tries to send him away, but Balthazar gives her up to him. Bianca pleads for them to stay outside together and they start making out. She bites his neck before she can realize what is happening. Lucas passes out and she calls out for help. Courtney comes by and says it’s about time that Bianca became a vampire like the rest of them.
Lucas is rushed off by Bianca’s dad. Her parents explain that he will be fine because vampires can’t drink enough to kill without making a real effort. Mrs. Bethany needs to punish Bianca so that others don’t get the impression that this behavior is okay. Her parents remind the headmistress that Bianca is a special case: born a vampire rather than made. Bianca agrees with Mrs. Bethany and takes her punishment. They come up with a story about how a crossbar hit Lucas in the head. He feels bad that it happened during their first kiss and Bianca feels bad about the entire situation, including lying.
Bianca feels like she is living a double life. Lucas keeps questioning the incident until Bianca tells him to drop it. They spend some time together whenever they can, but she never lets anything go past kissing. On the next trip to Riverton, they check out the shops. Bianca admires a jet brooch and Lucas spends $200 on it. However, when they start getting ready to head back to the school, they discover that Raquel is missing. Bianca offers to stay behind and help look for her. She ends up finding her in the woods being stalked by Erich. He refuses to back off (and threatens to tell Raquel what they both are) until Bianca informs him that she is going to tell Mrs. Bethany what he did.
Bianca is glad that Patrice is done dieting because it made her more vampiric (loss of reflection, can’t handle sunlight, etc.). Exams start coming up and Bianca is glad to have the distraction. However, she realizes that Erich isn’t done with Raquel, who informs Bianca that there are still noises coming from the roof of her dorm. Bianca sneaks out at night and goes to the spot above Raquel’s room. Erich is there. She bites him and can feel what he feels: anger, rage, and the taste for blood. Bianca threatens to tell Mrs. Bethany if he doesn’t leave. Erich agrees and takes off. Bianca starts to follow to make sure that he is actually leaving when she realizes that Lucas has been watching.
The next day, Bianca goes to Lucas’ room to try to explain, but he has already left for Christmas break. She spends most of the time moping around missing him. When snow falls, she goes outside and walks with Balthazar. She asks him about his life when he was actually living. He tells her that he wishes he would’ve died with his family; vampires are jealous of the living and that is why they are cruel to them. Bianca sends an email to Lucas telling him the whole truth and asking him not to tell anyone.
The students start returning from their break. Bianca sees Raquel first and is surprised that she came back. She also sees Erich giving her a strange smile. She notices Lucas and approaches him and Vic, but Lucas sneaks off in the middle of the conversation. Courtney comes to Patrice and Bianca’s room to tell them that Erich is missing. Raquel is happy to hear the news, but concerned at the school’s lack of concern. Bianca tries to explain it away before going to hide in a stairwell. Lucas comes to talk to her about what is going on.
Bianca takes Lucas up beyond the staffing apartments to the storage area in a tower. Lucas says that he was shocked by all of the information that Bianca gave him. He tried to forget her, but he couldn’t. He tells her that he wants her no matter what. They make out and Lucas lets her bite him again. This time, he stays conscious.
The next day, Lucas skips all of his classes. Vic comes to get Bianca to have her convince Lucas to go to the doctor. Lucas is going through the heightened senses just like Bianca. After a few days and a few tests, they decide to tell Bianca’s parents what happened. They are furious and tell Mrs. Bethany. She explains to the young couple that Lucas is marked as Bianca’s. He will be drawn to her and to becoming a vampire. She warns him to keep their secret, as it is also his secret now.
Bianca and Lucas spend time researching vampire facts and history from some books that Mrs. Bethany gave them. Lucas joins Balthazar, Patrice, Bianca, and her parents for a quiet evening and starts asking some questions about how to kill vampires. When Bianca starts to tell the story of Lucas’ ancestor that went to Evernight, her parents and Balthazar realizes that Lucas is part of the Black Cross (vampire hunters). They attack him, but he gets away through the same window that his ancestor broke. Bianca is crushed by his betrayal.
The group of vampires start looking around for what Lucas could have been after. Bianca points them in the right direction and they find out that he has been in their historic files and killed Erich. They start the hunt, but can’t get very far once they realize that he has already crossed the river. Bianca goes ahead while the others prepare to cross running water.
After a little searching, Bianca finds Lucas hiding in the back of the antique shop. He explains that, just like her, he had to lie because that was what he was taught. His mother had signed him up for the Black Cross when he was born and there wasn’t anyway out. He tells her that he killed Erich because he was about to kill Raquel. He suggests that they run away until they can say their goodbyes and then he will send her back to her family. After he says that he will always love her no matter what, she agrees.
On the bus to Boston, the lovers compare what they know about vampires, arguing whether or not they are all bad. They make it to their destination and realize that they don’t have anywhere to go. Bianca sells the brooch in a pawn shop and they get a motel room. The next morning, they are found by Lucas’ mom.
Bianca gather her clothes and is carted off with Lucas to the rest of the Black Cross. His mother is angry that Lucas told Bianca about them. Then she asks if he figured out the vampires’ secret (why they are letting humans in now) and is disappointed that he didn’t. She meets the rest of the group and tries to get away from them, feeling uneasy. The door flies open and her parents are standing there.
Balthazar shoots arrows inside the building and Bianca’s mom throws in a lighter. The place catches on fire. Bianca knows that the only way to keep everyone safe is to give herself up to the vampires. She goes to her parents and asks them to leave the Black Cross members alone. Mrs. Bethany reprimands them, but none of them go after their enemies.
Back at Evernight, Bianca mopes around missing Lucas again. However, most of her friends and family forgave her for the whole (or at least what they know) situation. After a few weeks, Vic gives her an envelope that she knows is from Lucas. It has the brooch and a postcard promising that they will be together again.