High school senior and photographer, Max Caufield returns to Arcadia Bay, Oregon, with the hope to make amends for her five year absence to her friends Chloe and Rachel Amber. When she visits Chloe at her home, she is dealing with the death of her father and her strained relationship with her step father. Exploring parts of the house, Max reflects on past events brought up by artifacts within the household itself; a stain on the carpet, old artwork that's fading in the sun in the backyard; photographs of Chloe before the death of her father, a happy and carefree young woman.
When the two reunite, Chloe is a completely different person, both in spirit and appearance. She acts out of rebellion, partaking in casual use of pot, dyed her hair blue and now sports tattoos on her right arm.
Max explores Chloe's room while Chloe lies on her bed and smokes, passive-aggressively demonstrating her anger toward her friend by paying little attention to her. Exploring the room, Max discovers missing person flyers for their friend, Rachel Amber. Chloe explains that Rachel befriended her when she left, and they planned to move to Los Angeles together. Chloe thinks of Rachel as "her angel". However, at some point in time, Rachel disappeared with her boyfriend, a man who "changed her life". Many believe that Rachel merely ran away, however, Chloe doesn't believe it for a second. Max decides to help Chloe investigate the disappearance of her best friend.