In an unspecified time and location, an unnamed boy is living what he feels to be an idyllic life in the faded and peeling Lido where his father is a lifeguard. He idolises his father – never more so than when he saves the life of a suicidal man – and he comes to believe that heroism is all.
The arrest of his sister Lilly later that summer brings the halcyon days to an abrupt end, and his family is torn apart, with Lilly sent to jail and the boy set to a boarding house for dysfunctional boys, far away from his home – The Fell. The boys in the home become his family and they band together against their enemies, both real and imagined, they become family.
The boy sees the world and his place in it through a unique lens. He meets ghosts, hears voices and battles his fears. What he never does, however, is question his own version of reality.
When the boy's fear and hatred of authority come to a head, everything is thrown into disarray and his action lead him to run from the Fell. And run, and run . . .