In 1975, twelve-year-old Tanya leaves her isolated home in outback Australia, and is sent sixteen hundred kilometres south to a girls' boarding school for an education the bush can't provide.
The freedom of her young life gives way to an unfriendly world of stone and concrete, high walls, small skies, dress uniforms, and endless rules that make no sense.
In common with many children of the outback, Tanya has little experience of life beyond the bush, stockmen and horses. She struggles to adjust to this cold place, run by harsh, authoritarian figures, where every moment is controlled by bells, timetables and stern words.
Yet, over time, her fellow boarders become her new family and Tanya survives both by writing, and by telling her stories of family, race meetings, gymkhanas, campdrafts and stock camps to enthralled friends.
Through her band of brave boarders and the power of inspiring teachers, Tanya's pain of losing family, and the trauma of dislocation is ultimately transformed