Seventeen year old Billy Kinsey has decided that the best way to deal with an absurd world is to stay away from it. Do not volunteer. Do not join in. But Billy will be the first to tell you it doesn't always work - not when your twin sister has died, not when your unhappy parents are at war with one another, and not when soccer mums in two-tonne SUVs are more dangerous than atom bombs.Billy's life changes when two people enter his life. Twom Twomey is a charismatic renegade who believes that truly living means going a little outlaw. Gretchen Quinn is an old and adored friend of his sister's, who believes that the world can be transformed by creative acts of the soul.With Twom, Billy visits the dark side. With Gretchen, Billy experiences possibilities.In Stephen Metcalfe's astonishing debut young adult novel, Billy knows that one path is leading him toward disaster and the other toward happiness. The problem is - Billy doesn't trust happiness. It's the age he's at. The tragic age.