The year is 1903, and Charlie Sutherland, a sixteen-year-old orphan, is on the run. Three years earlier, he was sent by Dr. Barnardo's Home in England to work on the remote Alberta homestead of Albert and Buck Brooks. Charlie has been treated poorly by the two brothers, but he has endured. However, when Albert dies under curious circumstances, and Buck accuses him of murder, Charlie has no choice but to run. He ends up in Frank, a coal-mining town in the Rocky Mountains. Once in Frank, Charlie finally finds friendship and a sense of belonging and self-worth, emotional qualities that had eluded him as a mere "Home boy." His new best friend is another English boy, who has recently received the deed to a homestead and is working to save for supplies. Things change dramatically, however, when, as the local aboriginals have for centuries predicted it would, the mountain walks. In this true event of April 29, 1903, Turtle Mountain collapses, burying a portion of the town. What Charlie does next is determined by the lessons he's learned from those he's become close to, the hard-working immigrants and colorful Canadians who struggled against all odds to populate the West
The "summer of love" is a time of idealistic freedom and experimentation for Emma, her cousin Megan, and the young people of Pike Creek. While her brother Eric's band practices in what Uncle Pat has dubbed the Hippie House, the girls suntan on their small lake and hitchhike into town to hang around the Drop-In Center. They find the growing crowd of long-haired musicians and hangers-on that begin to show up at the farm both enticing and a bit scary. The beginning of the school year brings excitement and change for Emma. But when eighteen-year-old Katie Russell disappears, her teenage sense of immortality is suddenly shattered. A month later, when Eric discovers Katie's body in the Hippie House, the entire community is thrown into turmoil. There are plenty of suspects in the brutal murder, but for months the case remains unsolved. And while others speculate, Eric agonizes that the killer may have been one of the many drifters who passed through the Hippie House during the summer.
Ten-year-old Eddie lives with his mom and grandparents in a small cabin on the Queen Charlotte Islands. A year earlier, Eddie's dad took the ferry to the mainland and never returned. Eddie loves going fishing with Granddad and listening to his tall tales about the big snapper. Eddie believes if they catch such a fish, it might change his family's fortune. Mom decides to turn their cabin into a bed and breakfast. Some of the guests appreciate island life, but many do not. When Granddad falls ill and must go away for treatment, Eddie worries that he too may not come back. Already hurt and confused by his father's disappearance, upset by the attitudes of the tourists, and now missing his beloved grandfather, Eddie goes fishing alone in Granddad's skiff. Soon he is struggling with more than the need to stay afloat.
Fourteen year old Pamela Collins is struggling to come to terms with her mother's death. Somewhat shy, Pamela is thoughtful, full of passion, often funny and sometimes tearful as she learns to cope with the emotional overload the tragedy has brought to her life. Her favourite things include walking alone in Lynn Canyon Park, the art of Emily Carr, and a certain boy with a "wicked grin." At the moment she dislikes her English teacher, shopping and being singled out for special treatment because of her motherís death. Pamela is tall and slim and mostly uncomfortable with her rapidly changing body. She is unsure of herself and unsure of the loyalty of her friends.
Sixteen-year-old Gordie Jessup is a good kid but he's living a nightmare. His eighteen-year-old brother Chase's two-year addiction to crystal meth has left their family emotionally and financially drained. And just when Gordie thinks he can no longer stand the manipulating, the lying and the stealing, things get even worse. Chase is arrested for aggravated assault, released on bail and sent home to his family. But his dealers are after him and Chase appeals to Gordie for help. Gordie, disgusted with his brother and fully aware that it's a gamble, risks everything he has in the hope of bringing his family some peace.