Jess Aarons is an outsider at school and even in his own family. Jess has trained all summer to become the fastest kid in his middle school class but his goal is unexpectedly thwarted by the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, who competes in the "boys only" race and wins. Despite their awkward introduction, the two outsiders quickly become best friends. Leslie loves to tell stories of fantasy and magic. Jess loves to draw, but until he met Leslie it was something he kept to himself. Leslie opens a new world of imagination for Jess. Together they create the secret kingdom of Terabithia, a magical place accessible by swinging on an old rope over a stream in the woods near their homes. There, the friends rule the kingdom, fight the Dark Master and his creatures and plot against the school bullies. Thanks to his friendship with Leslie, Jess is changed for good.