Life sucks in the small, depressed inland town where Martha lives. Shops are shutting, people are leaving and there is nothing for the teenagers to do, except hang round the parks and drink a little illegal booze. The adults of the town are bound up with their own concerns and view the youth with dismissive loathing. The nights are bleak, filled with predatory older men and racial tension between warring groups of teenage girls. It's Martha's birthday and the day is not turning out so well, a girl at school wants to beat her up , her father hasn't been heard from for years, and as for her mother, she hasn't seemed to registered Martha for a long time. The one bright spot in Martha's domestic life is her little sister Elsie, whose innocence and delight in life is undiminished by the squalor of her surroundings. Martha decides to get out of town and seek some excitement on the coast. This is one birthday she doesn't want to forget even if she has to make it memorable herself. Filled with the spirit of adventure Martha decides she doesn't want to ever go back home. Life must be better with her father than with her present but absent mother. Dragging her reluctant little sister along with her, Martha takes off in search of their missing father. But as Martha finally discovers there is more to finding her father than just locating him physically. And there is no such thing as a perfect family.