Flora 'Floss' Barnes' mother and father split up when she was little and she wishes they'd get back together because she doesn't like her step-father, Steve, and her little half-brother Tiger.
The book opens on Floss's eleventh birthday, when her mother and Steve take her to TGI Friday's, and tell her that they are going to Australia for six months because of Steve's job. Floss wants to go with them, but she doesn't want to leave her father, cheerful and fun Charlie, who runs his own cafe (named Charlie's but the C came off so it is Harlie's) which is quickly going out of business. Floss convinces her mother that she can live with her father, while they are in Australia. Floss has a tough time getting used to life without her mother since her father is not used to taking care of Floss seven days a week and she is not used to his home seven days a week, either. Floss's school uniforms get dirtier and dirtier and disarrayed as her father is not used to washing and ironing them, but her teacher, Mrs Horsefield, helps her out, as Floss is one of her personal favourite students. The father and daughter learn to cope and meet Rose, a very caring woman who works at the fair. After she leaves, (travelling with the fair), they keep an eye out for her fair. Meanwhile, a regular customer at the cafe, (Billy the chip) puts money on a horse that Floss selects, and he wins money on the horse.
After losing the cafe and the flat, Billy the chip mentions he is to Australia to visit his son for one month and needs Floss and her father to live in his house while Charlie works in his chip van. However, one day, a group of 'yobbos' (as Charlie calls them) fight Rose's son Saul and when he attempts to stop the fistfight, the van catches fire with Floss trapped inside. Charlie fights his way through the fire and rescues her, while in the process burning his hands. Floss also has a best friend, Rhiannon, who isn't much of a friend - making fun of her and her father and starting cruel rumours about her. Floss finds a new friend, Susan, who is interested in all her favourite things. When the fair comes back in town, Rose and Charlie consider dating, and Floss finds out both are interested in each other and get along well, while Rose lets Floss help her in the candy floss stall. Later, Susan goes to stay in her house in France and says farewell to Floss at the beginning of summer. The book closes with Floss dying her hair pink (like candy floss).