Grant, the all American star of the football team, is coming to terms with his own sexuality. Samantha, a studious and intelligent young girl, is under immense pressure to succeed at all costs. Steve is a bully who pours out the abuse on others that has been poured into him. Seth is the quiet boy who realizes it’s possible to be more than himself. And finally, Chelsea, the cheerleader who bucks all traditions.
Like all teenagers, they are aware that they want something for themselves, that they want to be something, but what that something is, is nearly impossible to define.
As the school year wears on, Steve has a major opportunity to change his life for the better, but can’t seem to hold himself together long enough to escape the path he’s on, the same one his alcoholic and abusive father chose. Samantha is leashed to her school work by her overbearing, though well-meaning mother, as she finds herself in a budding romance with Steve. Chelsea grows tired of pretending to be something she’s not for the sake of Grant’s lie and forges her own path seeking out a relationship with Seth. Seth, baby step by baby step, starts to take small risks by speaking to Chelsea, with great nudging and berating from his fearless younger sister Jenny. Grant refuses to confront his own sexuality and admit to the false front he’s been putting on for the sake of his family.
Prom arrives and it quickly becomes the focal point for, what is essentially, the last moments of their childhoods. Samantha fights with her mother about her future in an attempt to gain some control over her life and her future, including sneaking out to go to prom with Steve. When she arrives home, her mother relents, slightly, allowing Samantha to take a year off for volunteer work before going to an Ivy League school. Grant is forced to face himself and the lies he’s been telling his parents, each of whom take the news in drastically different ways. After losing his scholarship, Steve’s relationship with Samantha gives him the courage to confront his inner demons and his father convincing him to make a change for the better. In the end, Seth realizes life is better lived out loud rather than quietly and in his mind.