On an icy night in Northern Sweden Joel is drawn outside to haunt the streets. He finds the night-time activity of his stolid town mesmerizing in its unexpectedness and variety. But can he deal with the knowledge that he gains about his neighbors, his father, and himself?
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Joel thinks nothing is going on in his small town. But he's wrong. One day, a miracle happens to him. He's very nearly run over by a bus, but is miraculously unhurt. Shouldn't he show gratitude somehow? Surely a good deed of some sort is in order. But what?
Joel is growing up. He is getting interested in girls. Just look at his New Year's resolutions: 1 - to see a naked lady; 2 - to toughen himself up so that he can live to be a hundred; and 3 - to see the sea. They all look pretty impossible for a motherless boy in Northern Sweden. Especially as his sailor dad is keen to drown his sadness in drink, and all the local matrons are narrowly watching the pair of them.
Joel Gustafson has a lot to consider. His birthday is next month. He'll be 15: he'll be allowed to ride a moped, and he'll no longer need to sneak into the cinema to see an adults-only film. And maybe his father will finally agree to leave their small Swedish town and the two of them will become sailors - something Joel has always dreamed of. But before all that, Joel and his father are unexpectedly faced with an aspect of their past and emotional wounds resurface. Can their relationship survive this complex situation?