Charlie lives close to the normally placid Humber River. And while his fascination belies his paralyzing fear of water, he is drawn both to its shores and to the lissome young girl who becomes his first love. As their feelings grow, they must navigate the universal and sometimes painful challenges of teen years. For Charlie, that means struggles with body-image, sexual awakening, and the bewilderment of entering high school. On the home front, he witnesses his grandparents' lose their beloved Downsview farm to the encroaching suburbs of North York; his father struggles with traumatic memories of his war years; his mother carries the burden of a secret sin; and his young sister questions the nature of God. For Marie, it means finding a way to reconcile the old-world village traditions and values of her Italian immigrant parents and values with Canada's more permissive freedoms and expectations and her own desires.
Until finally, the Humber escapes its banks to create havoc on that terrible night, requiring Charlie and Maria to deal with a flood of emotions as they face the tenuous link between life and death and their own mortality