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Leslie Burks moves to Lark Creek on behalf of her parents and their desire for new scenery and her dog Prince Terrien that she adores.
Upon arrival at Lark Creek Elementary Leslie meets Jess Oliver and a friendship begins to blossom as Leslie helps Jess explore his artistic side and his creativity. He is excited because no one else has ever taken the time to understand him besides Leslie and his teacher crush Miss Edmunds.
As their friendship begins to expand Jess and Leslie begin to confide in each other about problems they face at home and school personally.
Leslie and Jess build a tree house in the imaginary fictional land of Terabethia to escape the stress of their day to day lives. They get to the tree by walking through the forest and swinging over a creek on a rope.
While Jess was in Washington Leslie had tried to swing into Terabithia across the rain filled creek and the rope broke. She hit her head on something when she fell and she could swim and is swept away in the current causing her to drown. Jess gets home and denies it all point-blank, accusing his father of lying to him
On a rainy day Jess gets invited to go to Washington DC to view the National Gallery with his beloved teacher Miss Edmunds and it would be ridiculous for him to turn down the opportunity.
After the funeral Leslie's dad Bill comes by and asks Jess to take care of Prince Terrien while he and his wife go on a trip to Pennsylvania. Jess agrees, and sleeps with Prince Terrien that night, and he is comforted by the warm body of the dog Leslie had loved.
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