Elizabeth is in year 10 at Ashbury high school in Sydney and her English teacher has just introduced a new project- the students are to become pen pals with students from year 10 at Brookfield High, Ashbury's arch enemies. Elizabeth's penfriend is Christina, a girl from a seemingly very different life. Through the letters, the two girls become friends. Also included are notes from Elizabeth's mum, various societies and other inflences in the girls' lives.
Soon after they begin writing to each other, Elizabeth's best friend Celia runs away to join a circus. A boy from Elizabeth's class, Saxon, who she has a crush on, suggests they go together to rescue Celia. Meanwhile, Christina has sex with her boyfriend for the first time and then panics because she thinks she is pregnant. On her return, Elizabeth discovers that far from being grateful for her daring rescue, Celia starts going out with Saxon, regardless of Elizabeth's feelings. Elizabeth's father, who left when she was a baby, moves to Sydney from Canada, seemingly leaving his new family behind, and bringing with him a secret which Elizabeth soon discovers. Elizabeth and Christina write to each other through all this plus Christina's sister's illness and Elizabeth's mysterious romance, and discover that they have become very good friends.
This report prepared by Katie