A loner kid moves from Cleveland to New Jersey, then puts together a band to enter the "Bandslam" competition which features the best high school bands from the area. Gaelan Connell plays the main character Will. He lives in Cleveland with his mother, Karen (played by Lisa Kudrow0. He hates it. Kids torment him at school. He does not have a single friend. Karen gets a new job in New Jersey. The move to NJ gives him a chance to start over, making new friends when he enters high school. He first meets a girl with an unusual name that she spells as "Sa5m,” (played by Vanessa Hudgens) telling everyone the "5" is silent. She is pretty but also feels like an outsider like him. Then he meets Charlotte (played by Aly Michalka). Charlotte is very pretty. She gets him to volunteer to help her take care of preschoolers. Will becomes suspicious about the genuineness of her friendship because he finds out the year before she was a top cheerleader, was the junior prom queen, was a singer in a band, and was extremely popular. Therefore, it does not make any sense for her to be hanging out with a geeky freshman like him. Will goes along with whatever she suggests because he really does not have any choice. She tells him she is putting together a new band and tells him to be the manager.
Will convinces a tough guy named Basher (played by Ryan Donowho), who is a drummer, to play in the band. Will then recruits more band members. They practice a lot and eventually get good. Will tells everyone a lie that his father is on tour with a rock band and that is why he never comes home. Charlotte's ex-boyfriend, Ben (played by Scott Porter) gets jealous of Will. Ben looks into Will's past school records. He finds out they used to call Will "DUI" at his old school because Will's father got drunk, killed a child while driving, and is in prison for it. Charlotte's father dies and the truth about Will's father comes out. Charlotte does not invite Will to the funeral, cutting off the relationship with him. When Will goes to find out why, she tells him that he was part of an experiment. When Charlotte's father first got sick the past summer, Charlotte realized she was not doing anything that her father would like. In an attempt to save him from dying, she became a better person. This is why she quit being a cheerleader, broke up with her boyfriend, stopped singing in his band, volunteered to help the preschoolers, and made friends with kids she would never speak to before. Will says to her, "You mean kids like me." Charlotte pushes him away, telling him the experiment failed not that he dad died, and she will not be in the band anymore. Charlotte gets back her old boyfriend Ben.
Will and the other band members are devastated. They decide to perform anyway and let Sa5m sing the song Charlotte was going to sing. On the night of Bandslam, their band, called "I can't go on. - I'll go on.” is scheduled to play last. Charlotte comes backstage to apologize and wish them luck. At first, they do not accept her apology. Because she is so sincere, they finally do. She tells them she is happy that Sa5m is singing her song. Ben's band plays right before them. Ben sings the same song that Will's band is planning to play. This puts them in a panic, because it is the only song that Sa5m has practiced with them. They decide to do another song that Sa5m knows but need time to work out the way to play it. They go out into the alley to talk it out.
When it comes time for them to perform, they are not ready. The make Will go on stage alone to stall. Will's mother is in the audience. Charlotte sits next to her. Charlotte sasy she did not know Ben was going to play that song. It's an old one that he know and he did it just to please her as a surprise. When Will gets on stage, he freezes. He cannot say anything to the crowd that now knows all about his father. One heckler calls out "DUI" which sounds like "Do we?" The whole room starts chanting it. Will almost leaves the stage, and then changes his mind. He grabs the mic and chants with them, "Do we? Do we?" then adds, "Do we want to rock?" The crowd goes wild. Will's band comes on stage. They performs well, but they do not win the competition. Still, their performance makes them popular on the Internet. Will and Sa5m fall in love.
Best part of story, including ending:
The character of Sa5m with the number 5 in the middle of her name where the "5 is silent" is clever because it is a new way to show rebellion in youth.
Best scene in story:
I like when Basher kisses Will's mom because he is infatuated with older women and her reaction is to say to herself, "OK, it's time to go." It is a funny scene.
Opinion about the main character:
The sad thing is Will has taken on all the guilt of the bad thing his father did. It is good to see him break out of that and find his own self-esteem.