Chapter Thirty & Epilogue

Summary: Chapter Thirty

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. 

Summary: 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.

Analysis: Chapter 30 & Epilogue

This final section showcases the transformation and growth that each character has achieved through accepting themselves and challenging the stereotypes that once defined them. Cooper is still a well-loved athlete, though he is now openly gay and has learned the importance of forgiving people for their mistakes. His decision to play baseball for Cal State shows that he now makes choices based on his own desires rather than on his father’s wishes, and it illustrates his understanding of the value of loyalty over prestige. Addy has transformed from a needy, shallow “princess” into a wise and powerful warrior figure. Though she wears physical and emotional scars from Jake’s attack and revenge plot, Addy’s continued friendship with Janae underscores her understanding of the importance of selective forgiveness and empathy. Her decision to stay single shows that she has broken away from her mother’s toxic feminine ideals, and her strong bond with Ashton further sets her up for a hopeful future. 

Though Bronwyn still desires academic success, she is humbled by her decision to cheat, and she shows vulnerability in her honest remorse. Her self-awareness enables her to set aside her obsessive pursuit of Yale and consider options that might make more sense for her transformed character. Nate pushes back against her affection, so Bronwyn gives him space and allows him to find her again in his own time. Nate still views Bronwyn and himself as opposites and feels unworthy of her attention. His shaky self-esteem crumbled during his brief incarceration, but through Addy’s counseling, Nate learns to be emotionally vulnerable. Though Bronwyn is afraid of getting hurt, she values her connection with Nate and is willing to take risks when it comes to pursuing a relationship with him. In the final scene inside the recital hall, characters who were once distrustful of one another and defined by stereotypes are now supportive of each other and true to themselves.