Whirligig chronicles Brent's journey from an angry young man that wanted to take his life but instead by accident took another's life, to an insightful young man that wants to live life. Rather than go to jail for accidental vehicular homicide, the victim's mother requests that he travel the United States placing old fashioned whirligigs that he makes in the four corners of the United States. They must resemble Lea, the girl he killed, so that her spirit lives on, providing joy to people across the country.
Of course on his journey he encounters various characters in the book with whom he interacts. However, some of the characters, such as Steph, only have a relationship with him through the whirligig. Steph is one of the people who comes into contact with the whirligig after it is made. She is a serious girl with a dreamer of a friend who tells her a story about a boyfriend she will one day have while sitting listening to the whirligig. Years later, Steph does have that boyfriend and returns to the whirligig often to visit, care for and repair it. Her relationship with Brent is that by placing the Whirligig, Brent impacted Steph's life with some needed imagination and "dreamer" quality. She, in turn, takes care of the whirligig.