Thad Morgan never much cared for the violence that accompanied being in a gang, but he accepted it out of a sense of loyalty to his friends. They have his back and he has theirs. But now the Diggers, the gang co-founded by his deceased older brother, have started evolving from a brotherhood of mutual protection into a full-blown criminal enterprise. Led by one of his brother's rivals, they're becoming more violent, more aggressive, and much more dangerous. Thad's not crazy about this change, but figures it is just another burden of being poor white trash from the wrong side of town.
By the time he begins his senior year of high school, Thad finds himself inserted into the College Preparatory Curriculum, thanks to a surprisingly high score on the PSAT exam. Instead of just being endured by his teachers, he's now encouraged and educated. Instead having to act out to fit in with his friends, he finds himself around people who actually expect to do something with their lives. Thad begins to wonder if there's more to life than fights and finding trouble with the boys. Thad's questions only increase after he starts a relationship with Kimberly, who shows him that there is a world beyond the south side of Loriville. A world without the senseless violence, hopelessness, and a refusal to see anything beyond the trailer park mentality.
Thad would love to explore that new world, but feels limited by his station and commitment to the gang. A commitment made strong by the dangers of walking away, especially with a war brewing between the Diggers and a rival set. Thad is faced with a difficult decision. He can embrace what the Diggers are becoming and accept his place in it, or turn his back and face the consequences. In the end Thad chooses to walk away, but not before the violence and chaos consumes those around him, and almost costs him his life.