Thirteen year-old Capricorn “Cap” Anderson lives at Garland, a farm that had once been commune in the 1960’s, with his grandmother Rain. Rain falls and breaks her hip. With no phone to call 9-1-1, Cap drives Rain into the city an hour away. Police arrest Cap for driving without a license and quickly ‘unarrest’ him when they realize how naive Cap is. He doesn’t know he is supposed to have a license in order to drive.
Rain’s broken hip prevents her from returning to Garland for a couple of months. This means Cap must live with the social worker and go to public school for the first time in his life. The students at Claverage (nicknamed C Average by the students) Middle School immediately see Cap as a loser because of his tie-dyed clothing, beads, and long hair. Since it is the custom to pick the lowest person on the social ladder as class president in eighth grade, Cap is elected to the position.