A young girl's birthday is usually full of surprises and joy, but for Katya Dubko, it is truly the end of the world as she knows it. Combining history and fantasy, this coming-of-age story follows the life of Katya, an 11-year old Ukrainian girl whose life is turned upside down after the Chernobyl disaster. Katya lives in a village near Chernobyl and her father works at the nuclear power station. Her family is steeped in Ukrainian folklore and Soviet patriotism and she believes that the station is a magical factory, full of angels who push buttons to create electricity. When Katya is sent into the forest to play while her family prepares for her birthday, she meets a mysterious, other-worldly boy named Sammy, who tells her about the meltdown at Chernobyl. Sammy helps reveal the truth not only about the station, but about blind Soviet patriotism as well, and Katya's innocent world is destroyed. With Sammy's help, she realises she is no longer a little girl in a fairy tale but has become the author of her own life.