The book RAW is the story of Brett Dalton’s experience at The Farm, a detention/rehab centre, after being caught breaking into a liquor store at night and stealing alcohol, cigarettes and cash. When he gets to The Farm after an awful, hot, dehydrated trip in the back of a paddy wagon, he is determined not to cooperate or enjoy himself. This does not work in his favour. On meeting most of the inmates Brett makes enemies. He has confrontations with both of the “main guys” in the detention centre, Josh and Tyson. On the first night he decides he’s going to run away.
He sneaks out at night and plans on hitch-hiking to civilisation but the first car that picks him up is Sam. After being on the run, and realising how hard his plan is he decides on going back to The Farm. Then he tries skipping class, (which is compulsory). When he doesn’t succeed he starts arguing with the teacher and gets sent out of class, which is just what he wants. He nicks off to behind the wood work shed to have a smoke, and spots a girl carrying supplies from a truck into the kitchen, he is stunned by her beauty.
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Eventually he meets this girl, Caitlyn and later they become more than friends. Brett meets up with his ex-girlfriend who has a new boyfriend, who tries selling drugs to Frog, (Brett’s room mate) and this causes them, and Josh to cover for each other. When Brett gets up the courage to ask Caitlyn out this come in handy, as the guys covered for him when he snuck out with her, that and the fact that they would but punished to.
But things go downhill after he pushes his relationship with Caitlyn too far. She breaks up with him. This makes him angry so he meets up with Rebecca and they steal alcohol and get drunk. This led to Brett drink driving and crashing Sam’s ute. This led to Sam and Brett constantly fighting and Sam ends up sending Brett the magistrate. When Brett realises that he only has five days left in town he wants to ‘make things right’ with Caitlyn.
This doesn’t go well and leaves Brett more heart-broken and angry. Before he leaves town, Brett is forced to go the big Ride (a cattle drive). On the Ride Josh and Brett get paired and learn more about each other. Brett learns the real reason that Josh is at The Farm, he was raped. Brett is later re-arrested by the millicents for his newest crimes, the novel ends with Sam telling Brett that one can only change their own life. Brett now considers Sam to be an old friend of his.