Paul Varderman is an ordinary sort of teenager at an ordinary school, subject to the usual sorts of bullying and minor torture that goes on in some secondary schools. By a series of unconnected incidents he becomes a focus for Roth - the violent gang leader- as well as Shane - the leader of the 'freaks' in the school. Paul is torn between the desire to conform and be one of the gang and the freedom to be himself if he joins with the 'freaks'. He is inexorably committed to a path he did not choose, and the awful consequences that result.
This is a totally compelling story, set in the everyday reality of a carefully drawn school. The reader is totally engrossed in the tale and swept along with the horror of it all. A must read for any boy thinking it's cool to carry a knife. Thought provoking.