Sixteen-year-old Joe Warner’s dad is dead at the hands of the mayor’s rogue security detail, and Joe must win a neurobotics contest for prize money to support his mom, who is nearing a nervous breakdown.
To win, Joe will have to take down Lance Pohlko, captain of the top team from wealthy Yachts High School and poster boy for Yachts District’s attitude of supremacy over dirt poor Railroad District.
Joe’s neurobotics team cannot overcome the advantage of Lance’s team, who trained their neurobot with an expensive supercomputer. After losing the finals, Joe is angry and directs his powerful neurobot to attack Lance. This earns Joe a two week sentence in jail.
Joe’s mom is worse off than before. And Joe’s teammates lose out on scholarships and are ashamed to be associated with the team that directed their neurobot to attack a human being.
Joe realizes that can’t help his family and friends until he uproots the anger in his heart. So he works with his friends to collect evidence against the corrupt mayor as well as a fiend in his own backyard. There are still holdouts in both districts, but Joe has a chance at happiness if he can unite the city.