Summary: Chapter 9

Aza prepares for the double date with Davis, Daisy, and Mychal, and her mom warns her to be careful around Davis because wealth makes people careless. Aza responds that Davis is not his wealth. They meet at Applebee’s and Davis treats the group to dinner. Afterwards, he invites them to his house to watch a movie. At the house, Aza and Davis go outside while Daisy and Mychal look at the art inside. 

Davis teaches Aza about the stars, planets, and light pollution, and they hold hands. She opens up about feeling like a fish with the parasite Diplostomum pseudopathaceum. The parasite causes fish to commit suicide on the surface of the water so the parasite can reproduce, and, like the fish, she does not feel in control of her life. She also tells him that her fixation on her finger began as a way to feel pain to tell whether she was real or not. Davis responds by sharing about visiting his mom in the hospital as she died. He feels their connection is too good to be true because he thinks Aza probably wants the reward money. He gives her $100,000 as a reward for not sharing what she knows. Back at the house, Aza finds Noah and tries to comfort him. Noah sends Aza notes from his father’s phone, specifically asking her if she knows what the note “jogger’s mouth” means. He asks her to keep looking for information. 

Summary: Chapter 10

Aza makes plans with Daisy to meet at Applebee’s to tell her about the money. Aza researches the notes from Russell’s phone before meeting Daisy but does not find out anything new. Aza arrives at Applebee’s early and looks through her own father’s phone, which she keeps in the trunk of her car. She enjoys looking at the pictures he took because she can see the world the way he saw it. When Daisy arrives, Aza tells her to get in the car and shows her the money. Aza is uncertain about keeping the money, but Daisy convinces her that it is okay. 

Summary: Chapter 11

Simon Morris, the Pickett’s lawyer, calls Aza to arrange for Daisy and Aza to deposit their money in an inconspicuous manner. Aza asks Simon if anyone is looking after Davis and Noah and he tells her that they are provided for from a legal standpoint. Aza and Daisy drive to the bank where Simon arranged for them to deposit the money. While driving, Aza is consumed by thoughts about her finger and pulls over to apply hand sanitizer and a new Band-Aid. She does this multiple times before she can bring herself to drive again. Daisy is sympathetic and tells Aza that she wishes she understood what she is going through. After depositing the money, Aza drops off Daisy and returns home, where she takes a pill because she is still panicked about her finger. She texts Davis, proving she actually likes him. They make plans to watch a meteor shower together on the following Thursday night. 

Analysis: Chapters 9–11

Chapter 9 reveals more of Aza’s mom’s insights into what defines a person’s identity. Her warning for Aza to be careful around Davis implies that she believes he is defined by the privilege and power that accompany his father’s wealth. Aza’s mom’s comment confirms Davis’s fear that people only see him in terms of his father’s money and not for who he really is. Aza’s response to her mother reveals that she believes the opposite to be true of Davis. Her mom’s comments further illustrate her conflicting ideas about identity. Aza’s mom does not want her to hide behind makeup as doing so would mask Aza’s true self. Her mom’s idea of what Aza’s true self is comes into conflict with Aza’s own ideas about her true self. Her mom also wants Aza to take her medication to control her anxiety, but in Aza’s eyes, Aza’s true self is one who has a mental illness. Taking her medication would mask her true self in the same way that hiding behind makeup would supposedly do. The two characters’ ideas on identity will continue to develop in contrast to each other.