Chapters Thirteen–Fifteen

Summary: Chapter Thirteen

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. 

Summary: Chapter Fourteen

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.

Summary: Chapter Fifteen

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.

Analysis: Chapters Thirteen–Fifteen

The chapters that mark the midpoint of the novel feature key instances of fractured identities. Addy is in a unique position in that she has the opportunity for a fresh start. However, she is so entangled in the identity she previously constructed that she can’t connect her old life to her current situation. She views the end of her relationship as the end of herself. Cooper, on the other hand, is forced to confront his identity after Nonny’s heart attack. Nonny is the only adult in Cooper’s life who knows him on a deeper level and sees him in a way others can’t or don’t want to. Nonny wants Cooper to succeed even if it means choosing a path different from the one society has already determined for him. As their constructed identities begin to crumble, these two characters realize that what they truly want is much different than what others expect them to want. Copper’s girlfriend Keely is sweet and beautiful, but Cooper has feelings for someone else. Addy desired Jake “the jock” because her connection to him made her popular, but it also promoted her low self-esteem and prevented her from developing a true identity.  

These chapters further illustrate the characters’ reinvention of themselves. Previously, Nate has been comfortable with his portrayal as a womanizer, but as his connection with Bronwyn grows, he cuts ties with Amber and forgoes random sexual encounters. Addy’s rebirth occurs when she cuts her long hair. Addy’s hair was the only thing she felt confident about and the one thing Jake never criticized. The act of cutting her hair symbolizes her desire to shed her former identity, which depended entirely on Jake’s acceptance, and to discover her true self. The time she spends with her sister in an attempt to fill Jake’s void has empowered Addy to gain confidence in herself and begin building a new identity. Addy’s newfound self-esteem also allows her to reach out to the socially ostracized and grief-stricken Janae. By reinventing herself, Addy demonstrates that she is becoming less self-absorbed and more in tune with the needs of those around her. Cooper also experiences a rebirth in these chapters. His good, kind nature has prevented him from breaking up with Keely because he didn’t want to hurt her. However, Nonny’s wisdom helps him to realize he doesn’t love Keely and is hurting her more by stringing her along. Cooper finds the courage to follow his heart instead of pleasing others. As these characters reinvent themselves, they rise above the surface level expectations of others and begin to discover who they truly are.