Set in Australia in the 1960s, four orphans, "Maps" (Daniel Radcliffe), "Misty" (Lee Cormie), "Sparks" (Christian Byers), and "Spit" (James Fraser) - nicknamed the December Boys as they were all born in the last month of the year - journey to the South Australian coast for their summer holiday.
During their stay, rumour circulates that a couple in the area are looking to adopt. Well aware that the gang are growing up quickly and will soon approach the age when they are too old for adoption, the tight bond between these four lads is tested as each of them feels they must compete for the family they always wanted.
Relationships are frayed and new alliances formed as the December Boys take on their most important journey. In the end, each boy learns something about himself and his place in the world.