The state is divided into upper, middle and lower districts. Prime School is a long-standing elite educational institution in District 1. One day during a jurisdiction class, the professor uses the December Revolt from 60 years ago as an example to explain the legal boundaries of society. Darwin and Leo start asking questions, which then leads to a heated debate. Later that day, the two boys swap the items they’ve brought for the antique exchange–an old hoodie and a cassette player.
Neese takes his son Darwin to the memorial ceremony of his friend Jay, who died 30 years ago. Rumi vows to reveal the truth behind the death of Uncle Jay. The murderer, assumed to be a Hoodie from District 9, has taken one photograph from Jay’s album. Rumi believes that the missing photo is the only evidence, and heads for District 9 to find the places captured in the other photos in the album.
The school suspends Leo after he gets caught sneaking out of the boarding house at night in a hoodie. His father, Buz, begins to shoot a documentary about Prime School and asks Darwin to be his narrator.
Darwin and Rumi visit the National Library to track down the missing photo and end up stealing Neese’s user ID–only to find that it’s already been deleted from the digital archive. Neese finds out that his user ID has been stolen in the library by none other than Darwin and Rumi. Joey, Rumi’s father and Jay’s brother, disapproves of his daughter’s obsession with the unresolved murder case. The two fathers ban their children from seeing each other. That night, drunk on whiskey, Neese blurts out his deepest secret.
The story takes a 30-year jump back in time and introduces Neese, Jay and Buz at sixteen. Known as a genius boy, Jay comes out on top in the entrance exam for Prime School, but decides not to enroll. Free-spirited Buz pulls out his rejection letter saying he failed on purpose. Buz feels inferior and grows extremely jealous of Jay. Not only has Jay been accepted into Prime School but also his father is a famous photographer. However, Buz soon learns that Jay’s life is far from perfect.
Day after day, there are news reports about insurgents of the December Revolt hiding in District 1. Needless to say, tensions are rising. A true hater of the insurgents, Jay adamantly insists that every little lie should be severely punished. The day before Father’s Day, Buz and Jay harshly touch each other on the raw. When Neese sees the album that Jay’s received from his father, he gets a huge shock.
Back in the present time, it’s the day of the jurisdiction exam. The task is to write an essay on an unforgivable crime from the perspectives of a lawyer, a prosecutor and a judge. Darwin agonizes over it. Rumi asks Buz if he knows the whereabouts of the cassette player that used to be in Uncle Jay’s room. Meanwhile, Leo set off to make his own film in the lower districts.
Leo tells Darwin on the phone that he has Jay’s cassette player in his bag and that he intends to give it to Rumi when he gets back. Darwin claims he always wanted to visit District 9, and joins his friend on his journey. Leo changes batteries and presses the play button to invoke an ancient story. Will the 16-year-olds survive the turbulent times of their lives?