Meggie is a total bookworm who lives with her book-repairer dad, Mo. Her mom's nowhere in the picture. A stranger shows up one night and sparks Meggie's curiosity about a mysterious book and a man named Capricorn. That sure sounds like the stage is being set for some action, huh?
When Capricorn's men show up and snatch Mo and the mysterious book, Meggie's determined to go after them. Book-nerd relative Elinor and shady juggler Dustfinger tag along—but Capricorn captures them, too. So now we have a pretty clear idea that Capricorn's public enemy number one (hello, conflict), and that he's gonna keep making Meggie's life tough til he gets what he wants (hello, complication).
Murder and Mayhem
Capricorn's on the brink of victory, and he's got Meggie in captivity to read a monster out of Inkheart to kill Dustfinger and Resa (Meggie's long-lost mom) for him. Luckily though, author Fenoglio helps Meggie come up with a plan to write an alternate passage of Inkheart so that the monster kills Capricorn and no one else. This all happens with Mo on the brink of rescuing Meggie, so excitement abounds, and the main conflict (Capricorn being a giant jerk and ruining people's lives) is resolved.
Fight Versus Flight
Capricorn's men either disappear or disperse, leaving Meggie and Mo to get reacquainted with Meggie's mom. Dustfinger steals the sole remaining copy of Inkheart and goes off on his own (well, mostly—Farid is following him like a puppy). Elinor gets to know some of the refugees from Inkheart's world and offers them shelter. In other words, everyone's figuring out what to do next after the climax when Capricorn dies and all that jazz.
A New Home
Meggie, her mom, and Mo all settle in at Elinor's place, along with the refugees. Elinor rebuilds her library (since Capricorn had it destroyed), and Meggie not only gets to know her mom again, but also decides to become a writer. So she's come full circle, and gone from being someone who enjoys books to someone who can work magic through them and wants to learn to write them. Plus now Meggie's family life is fuller than ever.