Todd Golden, a 12-year-old genius, suffers from Late Onset Tay Sachs, a rare degenerative disease with no known cure. This condition makes him awkward even for an awkward age: Todd limps, his voice squeaks, and he sometimes even passes out. Todd spends his time on the Internet, obsessively researching his illness. His young mother, Marissa, sleeps around in desperate attempts to cope with her grief. Todd is determined to cure his disease while there's still time, and finagles his way into lab courses at medical school, where his lab partner, Dietrich, is a cocky, academically stunted player breezing through his dad's bank account. Initially at each other's throats, Todd and Dietrich form an unlikely bond. Marissa recognizes Dietrich from one of her "friendlier" nights, but despite her anger over their one night stand, she too sees something special in Dietrich. After months of research, Todd's central nervous system deteriorates, with no cure in sight, and he is kicked out of school for stealing medication. But once Dietrich learns the truth of Todd's condition, he too becomes obsessed with finding a cure. As Todd weakens, the three characters begin to see that not all conditions can be cured with science.