Tom feels out of place. He's attracted to boys, not girls, and he's a promising cellist, which the school bullies see as a reason to pick on him. The story follows him through his adolescence, as he becomes more aware of his sexuality, and more committed to his music. This is set against the background of a rising tide of hysteria on Tom's estate and a witchhunt against suspected paedophiles. Through it all, Tom moves towards a satisfying resolution.