Twelve-year-old Joel lives with his father in the cold northern part of Sweden. At night he often sneaks out of the house to look for a lonely dog he has seen from his window. On the bridge across the icy river he starts a secret society and has adventures. But one night he discovers that his father's bed is also empty, and so he will have to come to terms with his father's newfound love. The harsh reality of Joel's world comes vividly to life and leaves the reader spellbound.