Tessa McPhail has a bad habit—tagging—that lands her at New Directions, an alternative school in Montreal's toughest neighborhood. The school is far from Tessa's home and full of troubled kids. To make matters worse, half of every school day is devoted to boxing. The other students think boxing is cool. Not Tessa, who cannot handle violence of any kind. But when a neighbor starts a petition to have New Directions closed down, Tessa discovers something worth fighting for, both in and out of the ring.
The city is cracking down on graffiti and guerilla art. Between that and cutbacks to the local art gallery it seems like nothing is safe. But Oswald, masquerading as a graffiti artist known as The Wiz, is fighting back—by painting elaborate murals in public places and planting art in the galleries, and then by taking on the mayor himself. As the fight escalates and the stakes become higher, Oswald gets in deeper than he meant to and needs to rely on his friends to get him out of his latest mess.