Lauren, a 15 year-old English schoolgirl, is forced to stay with her grandmother in Wales when there is trouble at home. With her pet dog, called Flea Bag, Lauren is plunged into a strange environment, where she soon makes as many enemies as friends.
For her GCSE History project, Lauren chooses to research the Senghenydd Colliery Disaster of 1913, in which over four hundred men and teenaged boys died. Besides reading the recorded views of historians, she enlists the help of locals, who have photographs and news cuttings relating to the tragic event. Lauren becomes so emotionally involved with her studies that the experience changes her attitude to life and makes her question her own family’s social position.
Lauren’s half term at her new school involves her in lots of problems and fun, and even sees her falling hopelessly in love with Justin, a brilliant, but disturbed, Year 13 pupil.