All 14-year-old Nick Zinsky wanted was a guitar of his own and a necklace for his mom, and he wanted to buy both on his own, without anyone's help. Too young to get a real job, he came up with a plan to get the money.
Using a guitar loaned from his high school, he spent the summer and weekends playing the guitar while busking downtown. But he had to keep his "job" a secret from everyone—from his mom, his music teacher, the other kids at school, and especially from the school bully, Beau.
But when a music competition is announced where the prizes would solve all Nick's problems, Nick lacks the confidence to enter the competition. Having a nickname like "Newbie Nick" doesn't help, either.
Does he find the courage to enter? Will he ever get his guitar?