Twins Steve and Jane grow up in a dystopic earth ruled by giant corporations. Faster than light space travel has been discovered, but extracts a terrible price. The immutable mathematics of the theory dictate that only half the ships leaving earth will make it to their destination, and of those which do, only half will return safely to earth; hence the name: Crazy Ships. With those odds, crews and colonists are drawn from the criminal class or from political prisoners and sentenced to serve on a ship.
Just as Steve and Jane fall in love with each other, their parents fall afoul of the corporation ruling earth. They are separated from all they ever knew and loved and sentenced to become part of the crew on a crazy ship--but not the same ship, nor the one their parents are sentenced to. When each of their ships fails to make a jump, their troubles really begin.