Summary: Chapter 4

At 1:07 am, as they are driving down the highway, Margo tells Quentin that Jase has been sleeping with her best friend, Becca, and that tonight, she will exact her revenge. Their first stop is at Jase’s car, which they find parked two blocks away from Becca’s house. Margo knows that Jase never locks his car, so she climbs in and attaches The Club to his steering wheel. As they drive to Becca’s house Margo explains the second and third parts of her plan, which Quentin deems brilliant but does not relay to the reader. Margo pulls a pair of binoculars and a camera out of the back of the minivan, and they discover a light on in the basement of the house. At Margo’s direction, Quentin calls Becca’s house and tells her father that Becca and Jase are having sex in the basement. Jase leaps out the window, and Quentin takes a picture of him running away. Jase hasn’t managed to cover himself up entirely, and his penis is right there in the frame. Margo compares his penis to Rhode Island, not favorably.

Quentin and Margo sneak into Becca’s room and grab all of Jason’s clothes from the floor. Margo dictates a note for Quentin, which he writes on one of the wrapped catfish: “A message from Margo Roth Spiegelman: Your friendship with her – it sleeps with the fishes.” Margo hides the fish in Becca’s closet, and then spray-paints the letter M on Becca’s wall.

As Margo and Quentin sneak out of the house, Becca’s father chases them with a shotgun, but they get to the van. Quentin sees Jase and tosses him his shirt. Margo starts yelling, and Quentin thinks she’s mad at him for throwing the shirt, but she’s actually just sad because her suspicions about Jase cheating were confirmed. Quentin’s heart is pounding intensely, either from excitement, anxiety, or both. While he calms down, Margo paints her nails.

Summary: Chapter 5

Margo and Quentin drive to Karin’s house and leave her a bouquet of flowers and apology note. Karin had told Margo about Jase, and Margo had exploded at her with insults, so Margo wants to apologize. Next, they drive to Jase’s house, which is a monstrous McMansion. She writes on a second fish, “MS’s love For you: it Sleeps With the Fishes.” Jase’s house has a very elaborate security system, and as soon as Margo steps on the property, the alarm system starts blaring. She runs up to the house and tosses the fish through a window, shattering the glass. She spray-paints the letter M on the window and runs back to the car. Quentin floors it, and they escape.

The next stop is Lacey Pemberton’s house. Margo says that Lacey insinuates that Margo is fat and didn’t tell her about Jase and Becca, both of which imply that she has been a terrible friend. Margo writes “your Friendship with ms Sleeps with The fishes” on the final catfish, breaks into Lacey’s car, and squishes the fish underneath the backseat. Margo tells Quentin to spray-paint an M on the roof of Becca’s car, and they touch the tips of their pointer fingers together, both blue from the spray paint.

Summary: Chapter 6

Quentin and Margo drive into downtown Orlando because Margo wants to go to the top of the SunTrust building. She’s friends with the security guard, Gus, who lets them in. They climb the stairs to a twenty-fifth floor conference room and survey the dark city from above, which looks much more beautiful than Quentin has ever seen it. Margo points out their houses and then describes Orlando as a “paper town,” which she defines as a place that’s flimsy and fake, built to fall apart. Quentin, not really knowing how to reply, offers her a spot at his lunch table the next day.

Summary: Chapter 7

When they get back in the minivan, it’s 3:51 am. Margo tells Quentin that it’s his turn to pick a victim for his own revenge. Quentin can’t think of anyone, so Margo suggests Chuck Parson. Margo reminds Quentin about the time that Chuck made Quentin cry in sixth grade by getting every single girl in their ballroom dance class to refuse to dance with Quentin. Margo’s plan is that Margo and Quentin will put Vaseline on every doorknob in Chuck’s house, Margo will use Veet on Chuck, and then they will spray-paint the house.

At first, Margo directs them to the wrong house, which they discover only after Margo has climbed in through the window and a shocked old man who is not Chuck turns on the light. They run away and Quentin calls Ben, who gives them Chuck’s address, and they sneak in successfully. Margo applies the Veet to one of Chuck’s eyebrows, and then she and Quentin put Vaseline on all the doorknobs in the house. When Quentin wipes the Veet off his eyebrow, Chuck wakes up and yells for his parents, but Margo and Quentin manage to escape. When they drive away, Quentin remembers that Margo was kind of friendly with Chuck, but Margo shrugs the question off. Margo announces that for the last part of their adventure, they will break into Sea World.

Summary: Chapter 8

Quentin doesn’t want to break into Sea World, but Margo convinces him to go along with the final part of her scheme. She points out that she picked him to join her on her expedition, which makes Quentin feel special. Using satellite maps, Margo has figured out a way to sneak into the park. She and Quentin bushwhack through a thicket until they arrive at a moat. Quentin gets across the moat, and Margo follows. A snake bites Margo’s ankle, and Quentin tries to suck the venom out until they realize it’s only a harmless garter snake. They climb a fence, and they’re in Sea World. A security guard finds them almost immediately, but Margo bribes him with a hundred-dollar bill, and the guard leaves. There’s music piping from the speakers, and to make up for rejecting Quentin in the ballroom dance class in sixth grade, Margo dances with him around the seal tank.

Summary: Chapter 9

As they drive back home, Margo hands Quentin her camera and tells him in vague terms to use the photo of naked Jase wisely. They return to Jefferson Park at 5:42 am, and clean out the minivan. Margo whispers to Quentin that she will miss hanging out with him. Quentin says that she can hang out with him and his friends at school, but Margo says that it’s not possible. She climbs a tree and crawls back into her bedroom. Quentin enters his house through the unlocked front door and goes to his room.


Margo and Quentin’s adventure through Central Florida functions like a self-contained story within the larger novel. In other words, even though it is related to the plot that comes afterwards, the adventure has a beginning, middle, and end unto itself. Margo orchestrates all the drama of this night, and each of the eleven parts of the adventure unfolds according to her direction.

Margo runs the show the entire time. She pretends to give Quentin some agency when she asks him whom he would like to exact revenge against, but she almost immediately suggests Chuck Parson. They’ve already bought the supplies that they will use to target this person, which suggests, too, that Margo had a specific victim in mind. At Sea World, Quentin thinks that he has a chance to save Margo’s life when a snake bites her as they climb across the moat. However, the snake is only a harmless garter snake, so Quentin’s attempt to suck the venom out devolves into something useless and silly. Quentin’s primary function is for Margo to shine more brightly and to show off the brilliance of her exploits to another person.

Margo and Quentin also bond over their analysis of the people on whom Margo is taking revenge. Margo and Quentin stylize themselves as ninjas for the night, outside of normal society and able to have a fresh perspective on the world. Margo quite literally dresses up like a ninja, in all black, to play the role. A big part of Margo’s overall goal for the evening is to show how ridiculous life in the suburbs is. When she and Quentin look down over Orlando, she calls the whole city a “paper town,” meaning, in this use of the term, that everyone who lives there is fake and that nobody leads lives of substance. By including Quentin on her journey, Margo plucks him out of the paper town and pulls him into her perception of herself as an outside observer. Now, it appears that it’s Margo and Quentin against the world.

Quentin has clues about some of the events to come based on the supplies that he and Margo purchase together, but Margo reveals herself to have more tricks up her sleeve, since she’s been preparing for this night long before she roped Quentin into the plan. Quentin was part of Margo’s plan long before she let him know about it. Indeed, throughout the whole road trip, Margo is prepared for elements that take Quentin completely by surprise. Not only has she planned for all the anticipated obstacles, she is ready for the apparently unanticipated as well. When they break into Sea World and a security guard shows up immediately, Quentin panics, assuming that they’ll be thrown in jail, but Margo knows exactly what to do, coolly pulling out a hundred-dollar bill. What is unexpected to Quentin is usually expected to Margo.

Even though parts of Margo’s plot seem random or spontaneous, Margo’s adventure is very thoroughly mapped out. There is method to her madness. Breaking into Sea World doesn’t seem to fit the pattern of the evening or help Margo get revenge on anyone in particular. Yet it’s precisely because Sea World seems unpredictable and doesn’t fit Margo’s pattern that makes it part of a classic Margo plot. Part of Margo’s pattern is to be unpredictable and to add final unexpected twists that ultimately fit into the whole picture. Sneaking into the theme park doesn’t rain justice upon those who have wronged her, but it allows Margo to deepen her bond with Quentin, which has been the implicit purpose of the adventure the whole time.

Visiting Sea World also perpetuates one of the other underlying themes of the evening, which is observing others’ homes and making observations about their own lives through this. Each house on which Margo and Quentin leave their marks represents some kind of home that Margo feels she lacks, for better or for worse. Sea World, ironically, is a more real home for the animals than the soulless McMansions and sprawling subdivisions are for the humans. Even though Sea World is a theme park, the animals there are much more honest and real than the fake people that Margo despises.

When Margo and Quentin return home, the way they get back into their rooms is symbolic of their relationship with their respective families and with their own homes. Margo climbs back up a tree and sneaks in through the window. Quentin, on the other hand, saunters through his unlocked front door and goes upstairs to his room. Margo has to enter her own home as though she’s breaking in, mirroring the night’s events and suggesting that she feels like an intruder inside her own house. This implies that perhaps she no longer considers her house as her home.

There’s also something deeply romantic and whimsical about entering one’s bedroom through a tree. Margo follows in the footsteps of a long tradition of climbing fictional heroines, from Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird to Harriet in Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy to Joey in the television series Dawson’s Creek. Margo probably doesn’t have to climb a tree to get back into her house, but the effect is much more glamorous than simply entering and tiptoeing past her dog. Quentin, however, isn’t concerned with effects and with looking glamorous. When Quentin goes back home, he feels comfortable returning to his normal life and to his routine. Walking straight through the open front door symbolizes that Quentin feels like his house is indeed a welcoming home, and that he doesn’t have to sneak around to avoid his family. Margo is searching for homes elsewhere, but for Quentin, home is right back where he started.