A leaky pen and a head-cold cause Joel Hedges and Cat Davis to arrive late to
their Extension English class, forcing them to sit next to each other.
The teacher, Mr Ashton, announces that the class is to work in
these pairs to write a tandem story.
Joel and Cat are happy at the idea of having to work together as
they have consciously avoided each other since the previous year when Cat
broke up the relationship between Joel and her best friend, Emma, believing that
Joel was seeing someone else behind Emma’s back when it was actually he’s sister
• The tandem story that Joel and Cat have to write for Extension English
keeps going off track because they keep deliberately sabotaging
each other’s writing. This leads to a constant struggle for control over the story.
• Joel and Betty Frost work together to expose the truth behind Jorge Rivera
• Cat describes herself as ‘an ironing board with a blonde wig’. She collects
old movie posters, reads Neil Simon plays and looks for grammatical
errors on menus.
• She is clearly responsible, as illustrated by the care she takes of Mark, her
brother, her concern for his eating habits etc.
• It is Cat who holds the family together when her parents have their
• Cat is a good friend who likes to protect people – hence her determination
to break up Joel and Emma.
• The only child of divorced parents.
• Joel is gentle and likeable – he has great relationships with his mother of
whom he is very protective, and his elderly neighbour, Betty Frost.
• He is also clearly quite sociable and has a strong friendship with Luke
• He has obviously accepted his parents’ divorce and his new family with his
step-sister and half-sister.