PART ONE: SIMON SAYS

Chapter 1

On Monday, September 24th at 2:55 p.m., Simon Kelleher catches Bronwyn Rojas looking at the About That app. Simon uses the app to publish gossip about classmates at Bayview High School—and to expose their lies and secrets. Bronwyn and Simon enter a classroom where three other students are already present: Nate Macauley, Cooper Clay, and Addy Prentiss. Bronwyn, Addy and Cooper insist to Mr. Avery, the science teacher who has given them all detention, that the phones he confiscated that morning weren’t theirs. Bronwyn takes out her actual phone as proof. Simon suggests that they were all framed. (All the students except for Nate have clean records.) Ignoring their pleas, Mr. Avery confiscates Bronwyn’s phone, explaining that he will return the phones after detention.

Just after 3:05 p.m., Simon complains that his water bottle is missing. When Mr. Avery tells him to get some water from a sink, Simon asks Nate, in passing, if he set them up to be caught with the decoy phones. Before Nate can finish replying, the group is startled by sounds of a car crash outside the building. Nate goes to the window, followed by Mr. Avery, Bronwyn, Addy, and finally Simon. Mr. Avery goes outside to check on the scene, leaving Bronwyn in charge. 

Simon starts teasing the group about their social roles: Addy is a homecoming princess, Cooper a jock, Bronwyn a brain, and Nate a criminal. In a threatening tone that makes Bronwyn uneasy, Simon calls himself the omniscient narrator. After remarking that the water tastes bad, Simon suddenly falls to the floor. Recognizing that Simon is having an allergic reaction, Nate tells the group to look for an EpiPen. Bronwyn leaves to find a teacher, grabbing her phone from Mr. Avery’s desk. When they can’t find Simon’s EpiPen, Nate tells Cooper to get one from the nurse’s office. There, another teacher, Ms. Grayson, helps Copper look, but they are unsuccessful. Cooper returns to the classroom as the paramedics arrive.

Chapter 2

Cooper helps Addy, who is badly upset, call her boyfriend, Jake, to come pick her up. Ms. Grayson gives everyone permission to leave. Addy is grateful for Cooper’s strong presence, and when Addy sees Jake, she is relieved. Addy is ashamed that she did not handle the situation as well as Nate. As Jake comforts Addy, she worries what will happen when he stops seeing the best in her.

The parking lot is empty when Nate and Bronwyn leave the school building at 4 p.m. Nate has known Bronwyn since kindergarten and feels comforted by her familiar presence. When he offers her a ride on his motorcycle, she lectures him about safety, but when he offers her alcohol from his flask, she accepts. The pair discuss what just happened. Nate finds Bronwyn tiring, but not boring. Bronwyn tells Nate she’s sorry about his mother, whose death Bronwyn learned of a year earlier but had not brought up with Nate. Bronwyn lets Nate take her home. Just as they arrive at Bronwyn’s house, her phone rings: Simon is dead. 

Chapter 3

All eyes are on Bronwyn in homeroom the next morning. Mrs. Park, the homeroom teacher, makes an announcement about Simon’s death. Bronwyn never appeared on About That and is relieved that her one (unnamed) secret now seems safe. Mrs. Park tells Bronwyn that all the students who were with Simon in detention will be required to see a therapist. Outside Bronwyn’s next class, Evan Neiman, whom Bronwyn is attracted to, asks if she is ok. Later, between classes, Bronwyn tells Nate, who arrived at school around 10 a.m., about the required counseling. A friend reminds Bronwyn of Nate’s bad reputation. Bronwyn turns down an opportunity to tutor a classmate in chemistry, a subject Bronwyn struggled with before eventually earning an A.

Cooper is with his girlfriend, Keely, that afternoon when a loudspeaker announcement asks all the students who were in detention with Simon to come to the main office. There, a police officer, Officer Budapest, questions everyone about the events leading up to Simon’s death. Cooper remembers Simon getting a cup of water, but he didn’t see anything spill from the cup before Simon filled it. Bronwyn remembers that Simon didn’t drink right away. She tells the officer about the planted cell phones. Officer Budapest asks if Simon would have pulled such a prank; Addy doesn’t think so. The officer mentions About That. Nate says that his hookups were reported on it many times, but he didn’t mind much. The other three don’t admit to having worried about ending up on the app either.

Over dinner, Cooper’s family discusses Simon’s death. Lucas, Copper’s twelve-year-old brother, is fascinated. Keely arrives unexpectedly to check on Cooper. While she is talking to Cooper’s mother, Copper receives a text message: “Hey, handsome.” Cooper texts back a promise to call the sender later.

Chapter 4

That night, Addy worries about a pimple. She is jealous of her best friend Keely’s beauty. Once, before Cooper and Keely started dating, Keely let Simon kiss her. Addy thought that Simon was dating his only friend Janae, until Simon started asking out Addy’s friends. Jake arrives. Simon’s mother has asked him to be a pallbearer at Simon’s funeral, because Simon and Jake had been friends before Jake became a jock in high school. When Jake informs Addy about beach plans for the next day, Addy is alarmed to learn that someone named TJ will be there, too. After Addy’s mother and her mother’s boyfriend leave for the evening, Jake starts kissing Addy. Addy has been on birth control ever since her mother hinted that Jake would find someone else if Addy kept saying no. Now, Addy has sex with Jake whenever he asks.

At Nate’s house, his father is already passed out on the couch by 8 p.m. Nate’s mother, who left the family when Nate was eleven, had bipolar disorder. She had always liked Bronwyn when Nate and Bronwyn hung out together when they were in elementary school. Nate sells drugs now, but not anything strong. Nate gets a text from a girl, Amber, and invites her over. Then Nate receives another text, with a link to a Tumblr post by someone claiming to have murdered Simon. Simon had a severe peanut allergy that seems to have been triggered during detention.

Chapter 5

On Friday night, while Bronwyn and her younger sister, Maeve, are watching Netflix, Maeve asks about Yale University, excited that Bronwyn might be going there. After a battle with leukemia two years ago, Maeve can no longer push herself the way Bronwyn can, so Bronwyn wants to succeed for both of them. Nate surprises the sisters by showing up at their front door. Bronwyn is uncomfortable, but Maeve welcomes in Nate. Noticing the family’s piano, Nate asks Bronwyn to play something. Lost in the music, Bronwyn forgets about Nate until she finishes and Nate tells her it’s the best thing he’s ever heard. 

That evening, Officer Budapest questions Addy. Addy initially denies visiting the nurse’s office but then remembers that she needed Tylenol. Addy’s older sister, Ashton, questions the officer’s motives. Officer Budapest explains that the nurse kept several EpiPens in her office, but none could be found when the incident occurred. Before he leaves, Officer Budapest urges Addy to call him if she remembers anything new. Jake is on his way to pick Addy up, so she finishes getting ready. When Ashton asks how things are between Addy and Jake, Addy wishes she could tell her sister about a secret she’s been keeping. Upon Jake’s arrival, Addy is shocked to find Jake’s friend TJ in the back seat of Jake’s car. After Addy changes into a formfitting sweater at Jake’s suggestion, TJ quietly assures Addy that no one knows Addy slept with him shortly after she and Jake got together for the first time. Addy hopes that TJ is right.

Chapter 6

During a Saturday afternoon game, Cooper strikes out several batters. Cooper’s father, Kevin, insisted that Cooper pitch, even though Simon’s memorial service at school is later that same day. After the game, a major-league scout introduces himself to Cooper and his father, and comments about Cooper’s remarkably improved fastball speed. Later, at Simon’s service, Cooper is surprised to see Leah Jackson since Simon was the reason Leah attempted suicide last year. Leah shows Cooper another anonymous Tumblr post by Simon’s supposed murderer. The writer takes credit for removing all the EpiPens from the nurse’s office and seems to have been in the detention room, too. Cooper barely hears Principal Gupta’s speech about Simon as he remembers the scout’s comment about his fastball. 

Early the next afternoon, Nate’s meets with his probation officer, Officer Lopez. Nate likes her but is annoyed when she presses him about his schoolwork. Officer Lopez understands why Nate has been distracted, but she reminds him that he needs maintain the requirements of his probation. Nate wishes he had something positive to report, but he doesn’t want to tell her about his visit with Bronwyn. (Nate was thinking about taking drugs that night, but he drove to Bronwyn’s house instead.) Officer Lopez drives Nate to Simon’s funeral service at the church. Nate believes that Officer Lopez has led him into a trap when he sees the number of police officers attending. When Nate makes eye contact with Simon’s mother, she sobs audibly. After the service, one of the cops approaches Nate and Officer Lopez.

Chapter 7

After Simon’s funeral, as Addy looks for Jake outside the church, she is approached by Detective Laura Wheeler, who asks Addy to come to the Bayview Police station. There, Addy is introduced to a family liaison who will sit with Addy during Detective Wheeler’s questioning. On her laptop, the detective shows Addy some unpublished content Simon had queued up for About That. The posts, which refer to individuals whose initials match the classmates in detention with Simon, imply that Bronwyn cheated on her chemistry tests, Nate is selling drugs, Cooper is taking steroids, and Addy was unfaithful to Jake. Detective Wheeler pressures Addy to confess to killing Simon, assuring Addy that she may be the least responsible of the group if they had all worked together. The detective believes that Addy tried to lie about not being in the nurse’s office, but Addy insists that her omission was an honest mistake. Addy then calls her sister Ashton to come pick her up.

Simultaneously, a Detective Chang is showing the same content to Cooper, who is relieved to see that his secret is about steroid use. When pressed, Cooper denies any collaboration with the others and insists that they were all framed. When Detective Chang declares that the evidence does not implicate anyone else, Cooper asks to call his parents. When he Cooper and his father talk, his father tells him to leave and that there will be no more talking to police without a lawyer present. The detective tells Cooper that the others in the group are being questioned, and that the first of them to cooperate will be treated differently than the others. Cooper politely thanks Detective Chang for his time and leaves.

Chapter 8

When a Detective Mendoza asked Bronwyn’s parents for permission to question their daughter, they refused. They are, however, disturbed by Simon’s post about Bronwyn’s cheating. Bronwyn, overcome with guilt, confesses that the post is accurate. Her mother is shocked and concerned that the post gives Bronwyn a motive to murder Simon. Bronwyn’s father, Javier, asks her if there is anything else she hasn’t told them. Bronwyn, who was lying when she told the police that she had no reason to dislike Simon, lies again, telling her father that there is nothing else.

That evening, after Officer Lopez sits with Nate during his police interview, she takes him home. Nate is glad he had cleared the drugs out of his room that morning because the police had a warrant to search his house. As Officer Lopez drops Nate off at home, she warns him that if he is caught dealing drugs, he will likely become a scapegoat for the other students. Inside the house, as Nate cleans up his father’s vomit and feeds his lizard, he reflects that Cooper and Addy would probably implicate him, but he doubts that Bronwyn would. Nate rides his motorcycle to Bronwyn’s house. Nate wants to ask her about the post and about Simon’s death, but he is turned away by Bronwyn’s father, Javier.

Chapter 9

On that same Sunday evening, Addy visits Ashton’s apartment where they talk about the case and the revelation about Addy had sex with TJ. Addy resists Ashton’s suggestion that some part of Addy might want Jake to find out about her and TJ. Addy tries to deflect by bringing up the fact that Ashton and her husband Charlie’s marriage has been strained, but Ashton does not back down. She urges Addy not to let Jake find out about her unfaithfulness from someone else. Addy relents and asks Ashton to drive her to see Jake. Addy explains to Jake that the police believe she had a motive to murder Simon, namely that Simon had been planning to reveal a secret Addy had kept from Jake. Addy tells Jake that she slept with his friend, TJ, but she can’t explain why. All she can do is apologize. Jake, enraged, tells her to leave.

PART TWO: HIDE-AND-SEEK

Chapter 10

On the morning of Monday, October 1, Bronwyn meets with Robin Stafford, an attorney hired by Bronwyn’s father. When Robin learns that Nate tried to to visit Bronwyn, she asks Bronwyn about her relationship with Nate. Robin then encourages Bronwyn to avoid the other suspects. Nonetheless, at school Bronwyn asks Nate why he came to her house. Nate says he was hoping to apologize: years ago, in fourth grade, he pranked Bronwyn during a Nativity play and was impressed with how she handled herself. When Bronwyn asks for Nate’s number so they can talk about the case, he gives her one of the phones he uses in his drug-selling business instead.

When Cooper sees Jake punch TJ in the locker room, he suddenly understands Simon’s queued-up post about Addy. When Cooper tries to reassure Addy by saying, “It’ll be all right,” Addy senses that he’s not just talking about Jake. Keely and a friend, Vanessa, are looking at Cooper’s phone when it rings. Cooper insists that the caller, “Kris,” is a male friend from baseball. After school, Coach Ruffalo meets with Cooper to discuss the various colleges interested in recruiting Cooper for their teams. Looking down at his phone on his way out, Cooper almost runs into Mr. Avery, who makes an oddly pointed comment about teens being obsessed with their phones and gossip. Cooper wonders if Mr. Avery has also been questioned by the police, but his thoughts are interrupted by a text message. Cooper’s grandmother is in the hospital. 

Chapter 11 

That evening, Nate shuts down his drug-selling business for a while, and then reaches Bronwyn on the “burner” phone he gave her. Although it’s late, neither of them can sleep. The two reminisce about the time they spent in elementary school together. Nate admits that he has sold drugs but insists that he didn’t kill Simon. Bronwyn then reveals that the rumor about her—that she cheated on a test—is true as well. She feels ashamed, but Nate doesn’t want her to worry about what people think. Bronwyn doesn’t want to disappoint her father. Nate and Bronwyn discuss Simon’s death. Bronwyn tells Nate that she believes in his innocence because he tried to help Simon. Bronwyn remembers how as a child, Nate tried to protect his mother. Nate tells Bronwyn how much his mother had liked her, but he acts distracted when Bronwyn volunteers that she had feelings for Nate at the time. After Nate ends the call with Bronwyn, he invites Amber to come over.

Addy tries to stay home on Wednesday, but Ashton gets her out of bed and drives her to school. When Addy tries to talk to Jake, he brushes her off. When Addy reaches her locker, she sees that someone has written “WHORE” on it in permanent marker. Addy believes it was done by (Keely’s friend) Vanessa and cries in the bathroom until third period. When Addy runs into TJ and interrogates him about the rumor, TJ swears he didn’t tell anyone about their night together. He reminds Addy that other people saw them kissing at the beach. Addy wonders how much Simon actually knew about her indiscretion. TJ offers to let Addy sit with him during lunch, despite the gossip that would result. 

Chapter 12

On Thursday, Simon’s revelations of the four suspects’ secrets are published on Tumblr, with an added note challenging the readers to figure out who killed Simon. Again, Bronwyn and the other three suspects are summoned to the main office. While Principal Gupta takes a phone call in another room, Addy reminds the group how many lives Simon ruined with his gossip app. Bronwyn remembers working with Leah Jackson on a competition; they accidentally told Simon the wrong date for a deadline, and he missed it. The way Simon started berating Leah on his site seemed personal. Just before Leah attempted suicide, she asked if Bronwyn had intentionally misled Simon about the deadline. When the principal returns from her call, Cooper informs her that they, the suspects, won’t be speaking with her.

When Nate calls Bronwyn that evening, she asks where he was when Mr. Avery confiscated his phone. Bronwyn wonders whether Addy and Cooper were behind Simon’s murder, or possibly Mr. Avery. Bronwyn wishes the police would look into the planted phones. Nate and Bronwyn pick a movie to stream together, in their separate homes, as they had already done several nights that week.

Chapter 13

After school on Friday, Cooper takes his brother Lucas to visit their grandmother Nonny in the hospital. Cooper goes in her room by himself first and after Nonny assures Cooper that her heart attack was minor, she asks about Simon. Cooper tells her everything, including about the newly published Tumblr posts. Cooper assures Nonny that he didn’t take steroids and that he had nothing to do with Simon’s death, even though Nonny had never doubted him. Still, Nonny presses him to talk. She knows he isn’t in love with Keely. When Cooper doesn’t respond, Nonny asks him to bring Lucas in. Cooper feels guilty for keeping secrets from his grandmother, and for letting everyone believe he never did anything to Simon.

Later that same night, Nate and Bronwyn stream another movie. He suggests that she sneak over to his house so they can watch it together. Bronwyn declines. When the burner phone Bronwyn is on starts running out of minutes, Nate promises to give her another one. 

Chapter 14

Ashton encourages Addy to do something fun and not related to Jake—such as renting a pair of bikes. Instead, Addy questions her sister about her marriage. Ashton reveals that Charlie moved in with his girlfriend after Ashton caught them together. Addy doesn’t think her sister has ever been happy in her marriage, but she keeps her relief at their separation to herself. Ashton quizzes Addy about her visit to the nurse’s office. Ashton doesn’t believe her sister stole the EpiPens, but she knows that Addy lied to the police about the visit and wants to know what she is hiding. Addy bursts into tears, unable to answer. Once Addy is done crying, Ashton takes her out to rent bikes. Cooper texts Addy about a party, but Addy knows Jake will be there and declines. Addy misses Jake, but she doesn’t miss how controlling he was with her.

After a Saturday morning run, Bronwyn is in a better mood when she picks her sister Maeve up from the library. Bronwyn is horrified, however, to discover that Maeve has hacked into About That and is looking at Simon’s admin page. The steroids rumor about Cooper appears to have been written later than the others, and there is an older file about him that Maeve can’t open. When Bronwyn asks how Maeve hacked into Simon’s app, Maeve explains that she often saw Simon at that library and bookmarked his admin page one day when he left it open. Bronwyn wonders if Maeve had personal motives for tracking Simon. Maeve teases Bronwyn about her feelings for Nate and suggests they pick up the new phone he promised Bronwyn.

By the time Cooper arrives at the party, it is well underway. Jake teases Cooper about being a murder suspect. When Cooper tries to talk to Jake about Addy, Jake explains his father had cheated on Jake’s mother, so he can’t forgive the choice Addy made. Cooper learns that Simon’s mother invited Jake and a few other people to each take a memento from Simon’s room. Someone tells Cooper about an article in the local paper that names Cooper and the others as persons of interest in Simon’s murder.

Chapter 15

As school lets out on Monday, there are news vans everywhere. Reporters are questioning students about Nate and the other suspects. Nate offers to get Bronwyn off campus on his motorcycle by going through the woods. They plan to meet up with Maeve so she can take Bronwyn home. While they wait for Maeve, Bronwyn tells Nate that he should hire a lawyer. Nate’s temper flares when Bronwyn offers to call a group that provides free legal counsel called “Until Proven.” Although Nate had wanted to kiss Bronwyn earlier that day, he bristles at the idea of becoming her new project. When Maeve arrives, interrupting their suddenly tense discussion, Nate stalks off. But Bronwyn rushes after him, kisses him on the check, and apologizes. Before Nate can respond to Bronwyn, she is gone.

Unlike Nate and Bronwyn, Cooper and Addy were not able to escape the cameras. Thankfully, the news vans were gone by the next morning. Addy is getting used to the stares she gets from the other students. While in the bathroom, she sees that Simon’s friend Janae is crying in a stall. Addy offers to help Janae clean the tears off her face, but Janae is hostile, and says that Addy is popular while she is not. Addy points out that she was only popular when she was dating Jake and offers to be someone Janae can talk to. 

Later, when Bronwyn invites Addy to join her and some others for lunch, Addy is surprised but reluctantly accepts. After school, Addy rides her new bike, a gift from Ashton, to the hair salon. Addy asks the stylist to cut her long, beautiful blonde hair—even though her hair has always been the one thing Addy likes about her appearance.

Chapter 16

Bronwyn waits for a television special about Simon’s murder and the investigation into it to air. All four suspects, now collectively called “The Bayview Four,” had refused to comment when contacted by the producers. Javier is upset by the coverage of his daughter and the scrutiny directed at their family. Maeve shows Bronwyn an online discussion of a school shooting in a nearby county a few months ago, with some comments by Simon. The shooter, also a teen, had shot himself after killing several others. Simon’s comments praising the shooter might have offended students at the other school. Maeve tries to decrypt Simon’s file about Cooper. 

Mikhail Powers, the TV special’s host, does a segment on each suspect. A lawyer from Until Proven makes some interesting points: who had a motive, and who had access to Simon’s admin site? Bronwyn mentions to Nate that she’s thinking about contacting the young lawyer, Eli Kleinfelter. Nate’s curt response makes Bronwyn wonder if he has lost interest in her. However, Nate offers again to come over, at 1:00 in the morning. Bronwyn has thought about spending time alone with Nate, but she worries about the implications of his offer. 

When Cooper breaks up with Keely on Saturday, she thinks he’s done to distance her from the investigation. There’s been another Tumblr post, pointing readers to clues about the Bayview Four in old About That posts. This scares Cooper, but he calmly insists his breakup with Keely doesn’t have anything to do with the investigation. Exasperated by Cooper’s lack of emotion, Keely tells him that she kissed Nate at a party shortly before she and Cooper started dating. Cooper’s calm reaction infuriates Keely, so she accuses him of lying about his feelings for her and of lying about using steroids. When Cooper vehemently denies the steroid accusation but ignores her claim that he doesn’t have feeling for her, Keely knows that she has all the proof she needs that Cooper lacks true feelings for her. Cooper leaves before he says something he might regret, but wishes he could have given Keely the apology she deserves. 

Chapter 17

In science lab, Addy is paired with a new partner, TJ. He tells Addy that he likes her better when she’s not with Jake and how haw how being with Jake made Addy become passive and disappear. Addy never realized that TJ liked her personality. After class, Jake approaches Addy and the two agree to talk in the afternoon. 

As Nate and Bronwyn hike through the woods after school, she tells him that she called Eli, the pro bono lawyer and she passes along several details from their conversation. Bronwyn says that Eli plans to look into Simon’s past and the other stories from About That and that Eli agrees that of everyone who might have poisoned Simon, Mr. Avery had the most opportunity. She adds that Eli plans to look into the car crash, which could have been set up as a distraction. 

Nate is irritated, not wanting to be reduced to being one of Bronwyn’s projects. He dismisses Bronwyn’s and Eli’s theories and jokes that Bronwyn is clever enough to have orchestrated Simon’s murder herself. They are interrupted with news that the police want to question Br onwyn again. Nate and Bronwyn can’t be seen together, so they plan to have Maeve pick up Bronwyn at Nate’s house. Nate is not eager for Bronwyn to see where he lives, but he takes her hand as they walk up through the unmown lawn. To Nate’s surprise, his long-absent mother (who Nate had said had died) is standing at the door. 

Chapter 18

Bronwyn doesn’t wait for an explanation of Nate’s mother’s appearance before driving off with Maeve. Bronwyn doesn’t yet know whether Nate lied about his mother being dead or if he himself had been lied to. Robin Stafford, the lawyer, is waiting with Bronwyn’s parents at the police station. The police have found an About That post from eighteen months ago in which Simon wrote about the first high school party Maeve attended. Simon mocked “MR” and made light of her battle with cancer. A comment from someone using Bronwyn’s email address contained a death threat against Simon.

Having agreed to talk to Jake, Addy rides her bike to his house that afternoon, wondering if Jake’s motive for meeting is so they can make up. Not wanting to talk to him about the investigation, she makes up a story about Detective Wheeler eating a plate of donuts as a distraction. Seeing Jake’s irritation, Addy asks why he wanted to talk. Jake says that he’s tired of being bothered by reporters without knowing what is going on. Addy feels pressured to respond to Jake, but she doesn’t. She realizes that he doesn’t want to make up, but she also realizes that she’s done apologizing to him. She won’t apologize for the inconvenience of reporters bothering him, or even for cheating on him—particularly since it’s clear he wouldn’t forgiver her anyway. When Addy leaves Jake’s house, she feels free for the first time in years.

After Cooper and his friend Luis work out at the gym together, Luis offers to trade cars, so Cooper can get a break from all the media attention. Instead of driving home, Cooper drives Luis’s car to an apartment building. Kris answers the door, surprised to see Cooper. Cooper wants to talk to him about Simon, but Kris pulls Cooper in for a long, familiar kiss.

PART THREE: TRUTH OR DARE

Chapter 19

Nate tries to figure out what to tell Bronwyn about his mother. When his mother left, he found it easier to tell everyone that she had died than to say she was a drug addict that left her family. When Nate’s mother mentions seeing Bronwyn, Nate gets back on his motorcycle and takes a long ride out into the desert. He returns in time to attend a party, where a girl named Mallory recognizes Nate from the Mikhail Powers special. She tells him that she thinks Bronwyn murdered Simon. Mallory offers Nate drugs, but he declines. Nate is relieved when he gets a call from Bronwyn, asking if they can talk.

Bronwyn sneaks Nate into her house after midnight. She doesn’t want to violate her parents’ trust in her, but she needs answers. Bronwyn asks Nate why he never told her about his mother. Nate truly believed, he explains, that his mother would never come home, and the lie was easier to tell than the truth. When Nate swears that he has never lied to Bronwyn about anything else, Bronwyn believes him. The two discuss the possibility of starting a relationship together. Bronwyn wants to try, despite the obvious challenges. She admits to Nate that she wants to kiss him, and Nate feels the same way. They kiss for a while, but Bronwyn is surprised that Nate doesn’t push for further intimacy. Eventually, Nate stops and suggests that they watch a movie.

Chapter 20

Cooper imagines how his father would react if Cooper told him about Kris. Cooper knows that his father feels partly responsible for Cooper’s now being a murder suspect. It had been his father’s idea for Cooper to hold back on the speed of his fastball until his senior year—so he could attract the attention of the baseball scouts by become an overnight pitching sensation. While his father’s plan worked, it also led to the rumors that he’d taken steroids, which Simon exploited, creating a plausible (albeit false) motive for Cooper to have killed him. A more genuine motive would be Cooper’s fear that Simon would learn he is gay, particularly given Simon’s remarkable knack for finding out people’s most intimate secrets. But Cooper especially feared Simon outing him because he suspected that Simon himself might be gay, and thus, (Cooper worried) he would just know that Cooper was gay too. Out of this fear of Simon, Cooper asked the social leader Vanessa to stop inviting Simon to parties, which she then did. Cooper now regrets having been so unkind to Simon.

Nate accepts a Tuesday evening dinner invitation from his mother. At the diner, before the food arrives, Nate wants to make sure his mother is able to pay. She is hurt by the insinuation, but she understands her son’s suspicion and explains that she has a steady job working for a doctor who helped her through drug rehab. Nate’s mother tries to talk to Nate about the investigation, Bronwyn, and the Mikhail Powers special, but Nate refuses to just act as if she hadn’t disappeared for three years. When Nate abruptly leaves the diner, Mikhail Powers confronts him in the parking lot and asks for an interview. Nate rides away, which leaves his mother to deal with Powers and his crew by herself.

Chapter 21

As Addy gives Bronwyn tips on nail polish over lunch, Maeve teases Bronwyn about the effort making look nice. After Cooper joins the table, Maeve tells the group that she plans to send Simon’s awful older posts about the school shooting to Mikhail Powers. Janae defends Simon and challenges Maeve about the source of her information. Bronwyn can’t understand why Janae is sitting with them.

Running laps in gym class on Friday morning, Addy notices how much fitter she has become since she started riding a bike again. Then someone trips Addy, and Vanessa calls Addy a “slut” under her breath. The teacher sends Addy to the nurse, but instead she heads to the showers. While helping Addy clean up and bandage her bleeding knees, Janae tries again to defend Simon, saying that he wouldn’t have wanted Addy to be bullied. Janae surprises Addy with an invitation to hang out that afternoon. At Addy’s house, they talk about how things have changed. Janae asks Addy for something to drink, but she leaves unexpectedly when Addy returns from the kitchen. When Addy texts Bronwyn about her strange afternoon with Janae, Bronwyn warns Addy not to trust Janae. 

Chapter 22

Cooper is summoned to the police station on Sunday evening. Cooper’s lawyer, Mary, is waiting there with Detective Chang, who confronts Cooper with Simon’s now-decrypted post: a rumor that a left-handed pitcher, “CC,” was cheating on his girlfriend with a guy. The police believe that someone tried to erase this post after Simon’s murder. They inform Cooper that they have a warrant to search his home. Cooper wishes he had taken the chance to tell his family about Kris sooner. Mary warns the police to not publicly disclose Cooper’s sexual orientation, but Cooper thinks it’s only a matter of time before everyone knows his secret. As his father takes Cooper home, he demands to know what new evidence the police have. Cooper asks his mother and Lucas to join them. Cooper tells his family that Simon did discover a secret about Cooper, but it had nothing to do with steroids. Cooper tells his family he is gay.

Chapter 23

The next morning, Cooper tells Addy about Simon’s encrypted post and tells her he is gay. He is worried that this new information makes him a stronger suspect in Simon’s murder. Addy tells Cooper that Bronwyn is also under increasing scrutiny, because of Simon’s post about Maeve. Cooper agrees with Addy that the Bayview Four should meet to talk.

At lunch, when several students bully Cooper for being gay, Nate tries to shut them down. Bronwyn finally stands and pulls Nate in for a passionate kiss, giving the cafeteria something else to talk about. When Cooper’s friend Luis joins the Bayview Four’s table. Addy is glad to see that, unlike herself, Cooper has a true friend to support him through difficult times like this.

Chapter 24

Nate picks up Bronwyn after midnight on Thursday. At a construction site for an unfinished house, they kiss for a few minutes before Addy and Cooper show up. Bronwyn lists the information she and Maeve collected about Simon. Addy adds that Simon felt spurned by Keely last year when she started dating Cooper, and Nate admits to being with Keely before she and Cooper started dating. Cooper doesn’t believe that Keely was involved in Simon’s murder, but they all agree that she’s a common thread. The group discusses other students who may have had a motive to murder Simon, including Leah Jackson and Janae. Cooper offers to ask Luis, who has connections to some mechanics around town, to track down information about the car crash outside the school. Nate is surprised by the affection he now has for the other members in this group, and by his belief in their innocence.

The next evening, Bronwyn’s family watches a second episode of the Mikhail Powers special. The program host expresses outrage toward the police for violating Cooper’s rights, and frustration that the investigation hasn’t focused more attention on Mr. Avery. Leah Jackson is interviewed, as are several other students who were hurt by Simon’s app. The program also features the information that Maeve sent in about Simon’s incendiary posts after the school shooting. Public scrutiny begins to shift away from the Bayview Four after the program airs, and their lives start showing signs of returning to normal. Nate and Bronwyn talk on the phone, imagining what their relationship might be like after the investigation is over. The next morning, however, Maeve wakes Bronwyn up to tell her that Nate has been arrested for Simon’s murder.

Chapter 25

Bronwyn calls Eli Kleinfelter and tells him she believes that Nate is innocent. She begs Eli to take Nate’s case, evoking Nate’s troubled family history to help convince Eli that Nate needs someone to intervene. After Eli agrees to speak with Nate’s parents, Bronwyn tries to find Nate’s mother to let her know. Addy suggests that she and Ashton spend the evening with Bronwyn and Maeve. When Bronwyn and Maeve return home, they find a horde of news vans and reporters. When Bronwyn’s mother asks her about Nate, Bronwyn admits to being in a relationship with him. Her mother tries to stay calm, even though her daughter ignored instructions to not get involved with another murder suspect. Nate’s mother calls and asks to speak with Bronwyn.

Later that Saturday, while Cooper is feeling good about his performance in a game, a reporter surprises Cooper with the news of Nate’s arrest. Cooper doesn’t believe that Nate murdered Simon. Cooper tries to engage his father in conversation, but his father only says he hopes Cooper’s “choice” was worth the media attention. Back at the house, Cooper’s grandmother Nonny suggests that Cooper invite Kris over for dinner, but before Cooper can respond offer, he gets a call from Bronwyn. She asks Cooper for an update on tracing information about the car crash outside the school, reminding him of his offer to ask his friend Luis to help trace them. Relieved at no longer being the number one suspect in Simon’s murder, Cooper is now less eager to pursue that issue, but he tells Bronwyn that he will check with Luis.

Chapter 26

Bronwyn and her mother meet Nate’s mother at Eli’s office. Nate’s mother explains what prompted Nate’s arrest. An anonymous tip led police to Nate’s locker, where they found the stash of EpiPens that had gone missing from the nurse’s office the day of Simon’s death as well as Simon’s own EpiPen and water bottle. A subsequent search of Nate’s bedroom turned up a laptop with all the Tumblr posts on it. Eli is relieved to learn that Nate’s fingerprints were not found on any of these items. Eli finally agrees to take on Nate’s case. However, when Bronwyn tries to offer further insight, Eli stops her, since he risks disbarment if he speaks with anyone else involved in Nate’s case.

Addy is surprised when TJ interrupts her family dinner on Monday evening. He has brought Addy a textbook and offers to study with her. Addy’s mother is furious when Addy turns TJ away. Addy should feel lucky that any boy is interested in her, Addy’s mother says. Bronwyn invites Addy over to her home, and she finds that Cooper is as well when she arrives. Bronwyn asks Addy and Cooper to continue looking into Simon’s murder since she needs their help to exonerate Nate. The three, aided by Maeve, begin combing through the recent Tumblr posts from the writer claiming to be Simon’s murderer. When Cooper notes a line about Detective Wheeler eating a plate of donuts, Addy recognizes it as the lie she told Jake.

Chapter 27

The next evening, Bronwyn sends the Tumblr post about the donuts to Nate’s mother, but she reminds Bronwyn not to involve herself. Bronwyn, Maeve, and Addy collect what they know about Jake and his friendship with Simon. Cooper joins them and provides the name of the owner of the car, which Luis had been able to track down. Addy speculates that Jake might have been jealous of her friendship with Cooper, but she can’t explain why Jake would have implicated Nate and Bronwyn. Bronwyn drives to the car owner’s house. The owner, Sam Barron, admits that Simon paid him a thousand dollars to stage the car crash.

Chapter 28

Cooper brings Kris along to meet the rest of the “murder club” at a coffee shop on Wednesday evening. Cooper and Kris have been spending more time together, but Cooper still feels a bit uncomfortable being seen in public with Kris. Ashton and Maeve join their sisters, Addy and Bronwyn. Bronwyn updates the group with Sam Barron’s admission, and they all review their information on Jake. 
Eli Kleinfelter, whose office is above the coffee shop, walks in and recognizes Bronwyn. He reminds her that he cannot talk to the group about Nate’s case. However, he can talk to Ashton. She gives Eli an envelope with Sam Barron’s statement and contact information. Eli replies that Barron already called him and admitted to taking money from Simon to stage the accident. Kris suggests that if the Bayview Four and Mr. Avery are eliminated as suspects, only Simon remains. It appears that Simon was the killer and Jake was his accomplice. Addy is upset by the implication that Jake wanted to exact revenge on her for cheating on him, so Ashton takes her distraught sister home. Bronwyn and Maeve depart shortly after, leaving Kris and Cooper alone. Cooper pulls Kris into a deep kiss, and the couple leaves holding hands.

Nate has been navigating his life in jail, trying not to think about Bronwyn. He believes that Bronwyn is better off without him. 

Chapter 29

The next evening, Addy remembers that Jake carried her backpack for her on the day she was sent to detention. He would have been able to plant a phone. Realizing that Janae, another student the “murder club” was interested in, hasn’t been in school all week, Cooper and Addy drive to Janae’s house. Janae is clearly on edge and is very surprised to see Addy. Instead of asking a careful series of questions as Bronwyn coached her to do, Addy pulls Janae in and hugs her. Janae begins to cry. After Addy asks if Simon orchestrated his own death, Janae hands Addy a stack of papers: Simon’s manifesto.

Simon, having been depressed for a while, planned to exact revenge on his peers for not giving him the attention he felt he deserved. Simon’s app allowed him to frame those who he thought of as his enemies and rivals: Bronwyn, Nate, and Cooper. Simon resented Bronwyn for cheating her way into being valedictorian. He hated Nate for ruining his chances to be with Keely. He hated Cooper for humiliating him by asking Vanessa to exclude Simon from parties. 

Simon’s plan expanded to include a fourth victim when Jake discovered that Simon had rigged the votes for junior prom court so Simon could be on it. Simon used his information about Addy and TJ’s affair to convince Jake to help him—never caring if Jake got caught. Janae tried to stop Jake, but Jake threatened to implicate her if she went to the police. Jake tried to harass Janae into framing Addy for Simon’s “murder,” but because Addy had been nice to her, Janae instead planted the evidence in Nate’s locker and home and then tipped off the police about it.

Warned by a text from Cooper that Jake has just driven up to Janae’s house, Addy hides and sets her phone to record the conversation between Jake and Janae. When Jake arrives, Janae begs him to abandon Simon’s plan. Jake reminds Janae that there isn’t any evidence tying him to Simon’s plan, but just then, Addy’s phone rings. Addy emerges, then flees into the woods behind Janae’s house, but Jake catches her. As they struggle, Addy falls, hitting her head on a rock, and Jake stands over her and begins to choke her. Addy is starting to lose consciousness when Cooper pulls Jake away from Addy. An ambulance is called. 

Chapter 30

Nate is released from custody the next day. Nate almost doesn’t believe that Addy, a homecoming princess, endured an attack from her murderous ex-boyfriend in order to exonerate him. His mother waits outside the jail with Bronwyn. Nate is overwhelmed with gratitude for Bronwyn and the other members of the “murder club,” who worked to clear his name. However, Nate believes that a future with Bronwyn isn’t possible.

Cooper and Kris continue to be pursued by the press, but attention is also directed toward Eli. Cooper struggles to comprehend how his friend Jake could be the same person who helped Simon in his deception and who viciously attacked Addy. He remembers that Ashton called Jake a control freak. Cooper meets with Keely to apologize and to explain to her the unwitting role she played in Simon’s strange life and death. Keely is distraught by what she learns. Cooper’s father is newly optimistic about Cooper’s baseball prospects, but his attitude toward Kris hasn’t improved much. Cooper is hopeful that this will change.

Addy recovers from her concussion. She feels sad for Simon, but she wishes she had never met him. While Nate visits Addy in the hospital, Addy becomes concerned for him. She recognizes a tendency in Nate to let feelings of unworthiness lead to bad choices—a tendency that she also sees in herself. Addy doesn’t agree with her mother that TJ is the last man who will ever be interested in her. Instead, she prefers to take relationship advice from her sister Ashton. Ashton, who seems to be receiving and enjoying attention from Eli, invites Addy to live with her in a new apartment. Addy will be eighteen soon, and they could both use a fresh start. 

In an interview with Mikhail Powers, Bronwyn says she regrets stealing the tests answers, apologizes, and promises she will never do anything like that again. Nate won’t speak to Bronwyn much, but he eventually agrees to let her visit. Nate’s tone is flat when he thanks Bronwyn for helping to get him released from jail. However, Nate explains that their lives should go back to normal, to before they were together. Bronwyn will be attending an Ivy league school soon while his life, he says, is headed in the opposite direction. Back at home, Maeve tries to comfort Bronwyn by showing her a brief note from the Yale admissions office: after seeing her interview, they still look forward to receiving her application. 

Epilogue

By mid-February, Bronwyn has begun dating her long-time crush, Evan Neiman. Even though Bronwyn and Evan make a “solid couple,” Bronwyn realizes that there are no deep feelings between them (as there had been with her and Nate) and that Evan is just someone to date until she graduates. Bronwyn should find out next month if she’s been accepted to Yale, but she considers staying closer to home and working with Until Proven. After Bronwyn performs in a recital, she meets up with her friends, including Addy. Ashton and Eli are there, as are Cooper and Kris. Addy seems to be looking for someone else, but when Bronwyn asks if she is, Addy brushes her off.

Maeve leaves Bronwyn behind when they see Nate in the parking lot. Nate tells Bronwyn he had been wrong all those months ago when he first visited her house, that her playing tonight was, in fact, the best thing he’s ever heard. Nate confesses that he had been talking to Addy, who told Nate he owed Bronwyn an explanation. Bronwyn explained how hurt she’d been by Nate’s rejection. Nate had worried that he would ruin her, the way everything in his life always ends up ruined. He thanks Bronwyn for not giving up on him, and the pair agree to resume their relationship. Bronwyn’s family picks her up, and she rides away with a smile on her face. 

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