A 17-year old girl, Petya, is standing at the pier on a cold winter day. She throws herself into the sea. She swims down towards the sea bed confidently, purposefully. The light coming from the water surface slowly dies out.
Three months earlier:
Petya is getting ready for the new school year surrounded by the people who love her: her parents, her best friends, her Literature teacher who is also her mentor. This year I’ll fall in love at last, Petya vows.
Petya is special. Everybody thinks so but mostly her Literature teacher. In terms of her personality and writing talent, Petya reminds her of a famous girl of the same name the teacher knew 40 years ago: Petya Dubarova, a talented poetess who became a hero for many rebellious teenagers in the end of the communist rule. Petya Dubarova committed suicide at 17. The similarity between the two girls is worrying for the teacher and her misgivings that the history is repeating itself give her no rest.
The exciting school year Petya is looking forward to turns into numerous disappointments and betrayals. Her parents get divorced. The new schoolmaster is a revengeful bureaucrat, and one of her best friends suffers an accident and remains wheelchair bound. Petya is determined to make it possible for her disabled friend to get back to school and embarks on an uphill battle with the schoolmaster. The one ray of light is the mysterious foreigner whom Petya falls in love with. However, she gradually loses the support of all of her nearest and dearest: her Literature teacher, the boy she has fallen in love with, her parents.
After the suicidal plunge into the sea Petya is between life and death. In this state she has the chance to look for answers to her questions:
Whether, if you remain an idealist, forever at 17, you are saved from becoming a gray and boring adult?
If the system breaks you, is this a sufficient reason to give up?
Is taking your own life an act of bravery or an admission of defeat?
Is disappointment of love a good reason to remain 17 forever?
Do you betray what you believe in if you stop fighting?
If you choose life, do you do good?
Between life and death there is no place for doubt and the answers are more categorical than ever because Petya is about to make the most important choice: whether to come back or whether to follow her favorite poetess Petya Dubarova?