Charlie just lost his only friend, Michael, to suicide. Charlie's first letter talks about his family and that he starts high school the next day.
The first few days of school are rough for Charlie, as he copes with new classes and gets into a fight with a bully.
Charlie's sister gives him a mixtape (a cassette…this is 1991, after all) of songs her boyfriend gave her, and Charlie relates to a song called 'Asleep.'
At school, Charlie loves his English class and meets a boy in his shop class named Patrick. Patrick introduces Charlie to his stepsister, Sam.
Charlie develops a crush on Sam, but she tells him that she's too old for him. They become friends, and one night, Patrick and Sam invite Charlie to a party.