At the beginning of the novel, Steve is taken from the detention center to the courthouse where he meets his lawyer, Kathy O'Brien. She tells him he is on trial for felony murder and "you'd better take the trial very, very seriously."
The prosecutor, Pertrocelli, tells the court that Steve, along with James King and Richard Evans, participated in the robbery of a store and the subsequent murder of the store's owner, Mr. Nesbitt.
The novel flashes back to a scene where King is asking Steve for information about a place to rob.
O'Brien asks Steve about Osvaldo Cruz. A flashback shows the reader Cruz telling Steve he is a coward: "When the deal goes down, you won't be around."
Osvaldo tells the court that he participated in the robbery because he was afraid of Bobo, James King, and Steve.
When the court hands out pictures of Mr. Nesbitt after he was killed, Steve can feel O'Brien looking at him to check his reaction. It is the first time he realizes that she doesn't trust him.
Steve's father visits him in prison and tells him everything is going to be all right. Steve says it is the first time he ever saw his father cry.
In his notebook, dated Saturday, July 11th, Steve writes that Miss O'Brien "thinks I'm guilty."
Steve's mother visits him in jail. She gives him a Bible and says that she knows he is innocent.
Another flashback shows Steve talking to King in a park. King asks Steve if he wants to be their lookout.
Bobo tells the court that Steve was outside the store at the time of the robbery as their lookout.
Steve takes the stand. He tells his lawyer and the prosecutor that he did not act as the gang's lookout or discuss with anyone about being their lookout. He tells the court that, at the time of the robbery, he was walking around the neighborhood collecting notes for a film.
Steve's teacher, George Sawicki, testifies that Steve is an "outstanding young man."
The jury finds Steve not guilty. Upon hearing the verdict, Steve tries to hug his lawyer, but she moves away from him.
At the end of the novel, Steve writes that there is now a distance between him and his father.