Bobby Seed has questions. What's another word for 'thesaurus'? How can I tell Bel I want her as my girl friend, not my girlfriend? How much pain is Mum in today? Has she taken her pills? And sometimes, secretly, Why us? Bobby's little brother, Danny, has questions, too. Will Bobby let him have Rice Krispies for dinner? And can he stay up late on the computer? And why won't Mum's stupid illness just go away? But it's Mum's question for Bobby that could turn everything on its head. It's the Big One. The Unthinkable One. If Bobby agrees, he won't just be soothing her pain. He'll be helping to end it. Would he? Could he?
Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town. When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes forever.
Dylan Mint has Tourette's. His life is a constant battle to keep the bad stuff in - the swearing, the tics, the howling dog that seems to escape whenever he gets stressed. But a routine visit to the hospital changes everything. Overhearing a hushed conversation between the doctor and his mum, Dylan discovers that he's going to die in March. So he makes a list of things he must do before he dies: First, he wants to have real sex with gorgeous Michelle Malloy; Second, he's got to find his autistic best friend Amir a new best bud; Third, he's got to get his dad back home from the army so they can say goodbye properly.
Maggie Yates tells her best mate Moya everything. She tells her about Mum losing her job - how Mum’s taken to crying in secret. She even tells her about her foolproof plan to cheer Mum up: find her a fella with cash to splash. Moya’s with her every step of the way. I’ll help, she smiles. Though you're surfing a rainbow if you think someone like that exists round here. But at the back of her mind Maggie knows that Mum's crying is more than sadness. That there are no easy fixes. And that she shouldn’t be speaking to Moya any more. Because Moya died months ago.