A story told in two voices set in a small town in Australia. Charlie Duskin is a withdrawn, lonely girl who may have lost her only friend. She lives in the city but is going to, again, spend the summer in her grandfathers small town in the outback. She's been coming here all her life but has never made any friends. To further complicate the summer, it's the first summer since her grandmothers death (her own mother had died years earlier). Her father has never recovered from the loss, her grandfather is now struggling, both are withdrawn leaving Charlie with not much to do and no one to talk to.
Rose Butler lives in this small town. She has two close friends, her boyfriend Luke, and good friend Dave. Rose wants nothing more than to leave this small town as fast as she can. When she wins a scholarship to a prestigious school in the city she is desperate for the chance to go. Her mom thinks she's too young to go. Rose comes up with a plan to make friends with Charlie and talk her mom into letting her go live with Charlie while she's going to school. The only problem, of course, is that Rose has been nothing but rude to Charlie over all the summers that Charlie has spent at her grandfathers house.
During the summer Charlie slowly gets drawn into the group and eventually a love develops between her and Dave.
More importantly Charlie learns to confront herself and her fears and learns to overcome them.