My throat squeezes shut, as if two hands of black fingernails are clamped on my windpipe. I have worked so hard to forget every second of that stupid party, and here I am in the middle of a hostile crowd that hates me for what I had to do. I can't tell them what really happened. I can't even look at that part myself.

Melinda's reaction to the students yelling at and pushing her during the pep rally shows how she currently uses avoidance to try to cope with her situation. She explains that it takes hard work to forget about trauma, disputing the idea that burying traumatic memories is an easy way out. Trauma can affect people physically such as when Melinda's throat tightens, and it can affect people emotionally as when Melinda explains that she is literally unable to face that part of her memory.

I see IT in the hallway. IT goes to Merryweather. IT is walking with Aubrey Cheerleader. IT is my nightmare and I can't wake up. IT sees me. IT smiles and winks. Good thing my lips are stitched together or I'd throw up.

Melinda does not mention her attacker until the end of the first marking period, and when she does identify him, it's not by his name but by the capitalized pronoun IT. Giving Andy the name IT allows Melinda to distance herself from him by not saying an actual name. She demonstrates that she sees him not as human but rather as an evil thing by calling him IT instead of HIM. Finally, by putting the name in all capital letters, Melinda shows that her attacker is a significant reason for her mental state.

David pins her froggy hands to the dissection tray. He spreads her froggy legs and pins her froggy feet. I have to slice open her belly. She doesn't say a word. She is already dead. A scream starts in my gut—I can feel the cut, smell the dirt, leaves in my hair.

The moment that Melinda and her lab partner David need to dissect a frog proves to be a huge trigger for Melinda's trauma. Seeing the frog pinned down and unable to fight reminds her of how powerless she felt during her attack. Melinda identifies with the frog that cannot fight back. Even though Melinda is in the middle of science class, she smells the dirt and the leaves from the night she was attacked as if she were reliving the moment all over again.