Life as We Knew It

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Jonny Evans Character Analysis

The younger brother of Miranda and Matt. Jonny is thirteen years old and hopes to be a professional baseball player when he grows up. Prior to the asteroid’s strike, Jonny had planned to spend the summer at baseball camp. Laura decides that he should still attend, despite the new dangers and lack of consistent electricity or phone lines, because the camp promises to provide better food than she can give him at home. While he is gone, Miranda, Laura, and Matt come to an agreement that while they will cut down on the number of meals they’re eating, they don’t want Jonny to fast. This is part of their unspoken agreement that if only one member of their family survives, it should be Jonny.

Jonny Evans Quotes in Life as We Knew It

The Life as We Knew It quotes below are all either spoken by Jonny Evans or refer to Jonny Evans. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harcourt edition of Life as We Knew It published in 2006.
Chapter 7 Quotes

Maybe we’ll be lucky. Maybe something good will happen that we can’t imagine just now. But we have to prepare for the worst. You and I and Matt and Jonny have to prepare for the worst. We have to assume frosts in August. We have to assume no power and no food coming and no gas for the car and no oil for the furnace. Up till now we’ve been playacting survival, but from now on we have to take it seriously.

Related Characters: Laura Evans (speaker), Miranda Evans, Matt Evans, Jonny Evans
Related Symbols: The Ash Cloud
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:

When Miranda wakes up to a strange gray sky, Laura and Matt explain that volcanoes have been erupting all around the world. The resulting ash cloud from these eruptions has begun to block the sun and will change not only the temperature, but also impact the ability to grow any crops. While Laura has been in survival mode since the day after the asteroid’s collision with the moon, now she informs Miranda that they’ll need to take things to the next level.

Miranda panics at this pronouncement, particularly Laura’s categorization of what’s happened so far as “playacting survival,” because it hasn’t seemed like a game to Miranda and she thought she had been taking it seriously. Once she gets past the sting of that comment, she realizes the truth—things have been bad so far, but they’re only going to get worse.

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Chapter 8 Quotes

“Life may not continue the way we know it today, but it will continue. Life endures. I’ll always believe that.”

Related Characters: Peter Elliot (speaker), Miranda Evans, Jonny Evans
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:

In the middle of a dinner party with their family, including Mrs. Nesbitt, Hal, Lisa, and Peter, Jonny asks the table what will happen when the food runs out. Not, if, but when. This question instantly changes the mood, with Lisa leaving the table and Hal going after her, but the others take Jonny’s question seriously and offer him realistic answers that boil down to I don’t know.

Peter, who Miranda has come to associate with pessimism and bad news, since he always comes with stories and warnings about the latest illness and threats to their health, is actually the one who offers the most optimistic answer—that life will endure. Within his answer he acknowledges that it may never return to the “normal” of before the moon’s collision with the asteroid, but that life will go on.

Chapter 17 Quotes

“If we all die, you’ll leave,” I said. “Because you’ll be strong enough to. And maybe someplace in America or Mexico or somewhere things are better and you’ll manage to get there. And then Mom’s life and Matt’s and mine won’t have been a waste.”

Related Characters: Miranda Evans (speaker), Matt Evans, Jonny Evans, Laura Evans
Page Number: 273
Explanation and Analysis:

Miranda is trying to comfort Jonny about what will happen if they all don’t survive. She’s trying to make sense of why everyone in their family insists Jonny eat the most, even though they’re all starving. Much in the way Matt treats her with respect when she asks questions she suspects are ridiculous, Miranda is trying to answer Jonny’s questions with the dignity and seriousness they deserve.

Once Miranda had resented the same plan she now repeats to her brother—she’d been jealous that Jonny was given more food and that her mom had pinned all her hopes on him. Now, however, she embraces it. It’s not that Miranda wants to or expects to die, but she is grateful that if she does, the choices and hunger they’ve faced will give Jonny a chance to leave and survive. She’s started to view him as a part of her legacy. Her sacrifice being the price of his survival is a price that she’s willing to pay.

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Jonny Evans Character Timeline in Life as We Knew It

The timeline below shows where the character Jonny Evans appears in Life as We Knew It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...is home alone when Hal calls, as her mom, Laura, is taking her younger brother Jonny to baseball practice and Miranda’s older brother Matt is away at college. Hal is very... (full context)
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...“good divorce.” Miranda then thinks more about becoming a godmother, and wonders why Matt and Jonny weren’t asked to be godfathers. She hopes Lisa will change her mind about the request. (full context)
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...skating with Brandon Erlich’s old coach. Miranda responds by accusing Laura of loving her brothers, Jonny and Matt, more than her—even though she knows this isn’t true. Later that night, she... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Miranda, Laura, and Jonny have dinner together and plan to make a “party” of watching the asteroid’s impact with... (full context)
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...signals, and the Internet are also not working when they attempt to check for news. Jonny asks if the world is coming to an end, and Laura reassures him that it’s... (full context)
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Laura attempts to reassure Miranda and Jonny that the news reports could be exaggerated, and that they are inland and safe. She... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Laura arrives unexpectedly at school to pick up Miranda. Jonny and Mrs. Nesbitt are already waiting in the car, and Laura hands them each an... (full context)
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...storm to the store, Laura is solemn as she assigns each of them a task: Jonny is in charge of getting water and supplies for Horton. Mrs. Nesbitt is to get... (full context)
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...focus on meat and produce, Miranda sticks to her mother’s plan and buys nonperishables. She, Jonny, Laura, and Mrs. Nesbitt make multiple trips to fill their carts. A man tries to... (full context)
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...with all the batteries, matches, and soap at the convenience store. She thanks Miranda and Jonny for their help, saying she couldn’t have done this without them, and then she begins... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...electricity finally turns back on around 4 a.m. Their schools are closed, so Miranda and Jonny stay home with Laura, and their family cat, Horton, who has been acting strangely since... (full context)
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...the power failures to work around, and that he’ll be back home the following Wednesday. Jonny and Miranda each spend a half hour on the Internet. Miranda uses her time to... (full context)
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Miranda, Jonny, and Laura spend most of the day putting away their supplies. With the electricity on... (full context)
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...and to say that all offshore oil wells and tankers have been destroyed. Laura tells Jonny and Miranda that this may mean shortages for gas and oil heat. Miranda finds this... (full context)
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...also says that he doesn’t know when the power outages will stop. After the news, Jonny is upset that the governor didn’t indicate whether the state sports teams were safe. Miranda... (full context)
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...stuck at home and since their fridge and freezer are emptied due to unreliable electricity, Jonny, Miranda, and Laura attempt to go to McDonalds. They discover that the price of gas... (full context)
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...cake, cookies, and bread. They eat this with their pizza, but Laura cautions Miranda and Jonny not to expect fresh food “until things get back to normal,” and says she wishes... (full context)
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...dead, they report that the floods have continued and people continue to drown. Laura reassures Jonny and Miranda that they are inland and safe. (full context)
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May 24. Laura takes Jonny and Miranda to look for open stores. Miranda has noticed that Laura looks with pride... (full context)
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Laura ends up taking Jonny and Miranda to a dingy, rundown store where she buys them clothing that Miranda thinks... (full context)
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...journal entry by stating that Matt should’ve been home by now and she, Laura, and Jonny are feeling nervous—especially since it’s a clear night and the moon appears too big and... (full context)
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...to take on anyone else’s. No one at school was talking much. Laura had instructed Jonny and Miranda not to talk about the goods they’ve stockpiled in their pantry. Miranda wondered... (full context)
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...though their situation isn’t changed, things seem better with him there to play baseball with Jonny and help Laura organize supplies. Miranda and Matt have not yet talked about the disaster,... (full context)
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Attendance is up in school on Thursday. Matt works on Miranda and Jonny’s bikes so they’ll have a way to get to school once the buses stop. Peter... (full context)
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...family isn’t on the list—and Miranda is relieved that Brandon Erlich doesn’t appear on it. Jonny finds that many baseball players are dead, presumed dead, or missing, and Matt looks up... (full context)
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...rains on the first day that there’s no bus service, so Matt drives Miranda and Jonny to school while Laura stays home to work on her book. The schools are even... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...what he and Laura are worried about. He shares that her current top concern is Jonny’s baseball camp. Laura wants Jonny to have a normal, childhood summer—plus, if he’s away at... (full context)
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...worries that she’s not strong or good enough—and wonders if she’d give up food for Jonny like Megan had at lunch the day before. (full context)
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...one can predict what winter will be like. Matt makes her promise not to tell Jonny about the conversation. Miranda ends the journal entry by telling how she went in the... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...Massachusetts seem similar to where Miranda lives in Pennsylvania. The current plan is still for Jonny to go to baseball camp, then Miranda and Jonny will go spend the month of... (full context)
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...everything, she can’t. And that she also wants Miranda to enjoy swimming, the same way Jonny enjoys baseball, and Matt likes running. Laura’s escape is gardening—though this year she’s growing vegetables... (full context)
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...Laura picks up the family mail at the post office. She’s gotten a letter from Jonny’s baseball camp—which will still run for the weeks planned, but will be partnering with a... (full context)
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...she’s refusing to let them live. Matt responds that Laura is scared, and stressed about Jonny’s camp and Mrs. Nesbitt’s safety, and Peter working too hard. He suggests that Miranda to... (full context)
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Miranda invites Jonny to come with her to Miller’s Pond and he excitedly agrees. Seeing him play and... (full context)
Chapter 7
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July 2. Laura takes Jonny to baseball camp and comes back excited about a gas station where she can buy... (full context)
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July 3. With Jonny off at camp, Laura suggests that she, Matt, and Miranda cut back to two meals... (full context)
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...portion at lunch. She settles on eating brunch and dinner. She struggles with resentment toward Jonny, who is being well fed at camp, and with comparisons towards past Fourth of Julys... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...time, hoping to see Dan, but he doesn’t show up. They also haven’t heard from Jonny or Hal. Matt stops running in order to conserve his energy and strength, and because... (full context)
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...Normally he is only allowed out during the day—but his behavior has been erratic since Jonny left and he’s also muddled by the daytime gray skies, so Miranda thinks he was... (full context)
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...Miranda that it’s possible Horton has been killed for food. Miranda is worried about when Jonny returns home from camp and blames her. Laura and Miranda argue when Laura accuses Miranda... (full context)
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...find him yowling at the door. Laura is also relieved to find five letters from Jonny waiting at the post office, saying that he’s fine and having fun. They celebrate by... (full context)
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...collision. So when Laura pulls Miranda aside to tell her plans have changed—that Miranda and Jonny won’t be going to Springfield after all—Miranda wants to throw a tantrum. Instead she listens... (full context)
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July 29. Hal and Lisa will be picking up Jonny from camp and arriving the next day. Laura doesn’t want Hal to worry about his... (full context)
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July 30. Jonny, Hal, and Lisa arrive. There is much mutual scrutiny as everyone tries to deduce how... (full context)
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...skips brunch out of habit. Miranda enjoys having Hal and Lisa there and hearing about Jonny’s time at baseball camp and working on the farm. Miranda is grateful again that Horton... (full context)
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...party and invite Mrs. Nesbitt and Peter. Miranda delivers the invitations by bike while Hal, Jonny, and Matt work on chopping wood. Miranda learns that Peter has closed his doctor’s practice... (full context)
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...pasta with jarred sauce and canned mushrooms. But as the meal comes to an end, Jonny asks, “Are we going to die?” and the mood changes. Lisa leaves the room when... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...exhausted, hungry, and furious at Hal for leaving him to be the father figure for Jonny and Miranda. (full context)
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August 11. There is a light frost overnight. Jonny tells Miranda he wants to move south and has heard rumors from his friend Aaron,... (full context)
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August 14. Jonny announces he doesn’t need any presents for his upcoming birthday. Miranda is annoyed that she... (full context)
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August 18. The Evanses celebrate Jonny’s 14th birthday by playing baseball and having dinner at Mrs. Nesbitt’s house. Mrs. Nesbitt manages... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...or attending either of the open schools, Laura says she’ll support whatever decision Miranda and Jonny make. (full context)
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August 30. Laura asks Jonny and Miranda for their decisions about school. Jonny has chosen to be homeschooled, but—to Laura’s... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...Miranda and she leaves, stopping at the office to collect homeschooling textbooks for herself and Jonny. (full context)
Chapter 12
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September 7-14. Miranda continues to focus on food. First Jonny asks her why she’s not allowed to eat, and she lies and tells him she... (full context)
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...pregnant, and Lisa is showing. Matt translates some of the nuance of the letter for Jonny and Miranda—Hal is looking for the right person to bribe to let them pass through... (full context)
Chapter 13
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September 18. Laura trips and sprains her ankle. Since Matt and Jonny are at Mrs. Nesbitt’s house, Miranda has to go by herself to the hospital to... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...it’s an indication that things are getting worse again. This belief is confirmed when she, Jonny, and Matt go into town and Mrs. Hotchkiss tells them that the library is closing... (full context)
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...the Evans siblings to bicker about whether or not their family should stay or leave. Jonny wants to go find Hal, even though they don’t know where he is. Matt asserts... (full context)
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...since the ash cloud is worsening, they think volcanoes must still be erupting. Matt and Jonny continue to chop wood, despite the worsening air quality. And Miranda is grateful that the... (full context)
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...so they don’t have to close. When Laura applauds the purpose this gives his life, Jonny and Miranda scoff. Laura tells them “do whatever you want. I’m past caring.” This sentiment... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...ransacking the house, she finds a box of old baseball cards to put aside for Jonny for Christmas and chocolates for Laura. More importantly, she finds food, medicine, and others supplies.... (full context)
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Matt, Jonny, and Miranda make a plan on how to transport the supplies from Mrs. Nesbitt’s house... (full context)
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While Jonny and Matt bring Mrs. Nesbitt’s body to the hospital, Laura and Miranda reminisce about Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...is volunteering at the post office. As the day passes and snow accumulates, Laura forbids Jonny and Miranda from going to look for him, saying “I can’t risk losing two of... (full context)
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...open it to get to the real shovels and ladder. Despite Laura’s fear, Matt and Jonny carefully clear the snow off the roof of the sunroom while Laura and Miranda melt... (full context)
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December 10-13. Jonny finally notices that the others don’t eat lunch. He says if they’re only eating one... (full context)
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December 16-21. Jonny asks Miranda if she’s still keeping a journal, and why. She doesn’t have an answer... (full context)
Chapter 18
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January 1. Matt’s New Year’s resolution is for him, Miranda, and Jonny to become proficient on the cross country skis. They try and all tire out very... (full context)
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January 3-7. Miranda, Jonny, and Matt practice on the skis. This skill feels even more important after their neighbor,... (full context)
Chapter 19
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January 10. Laura wakes up ill and soon Jonny is screaming in delirium too. Matt says he’ll go get help, but then realizes he... (full context)
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...little change. Matt seems the least sick and she’s hopeful he’ll survive, but Laura and Jonny are too weak to even swallow without assistance. Miranda is exhausted from caring for them,... (full context)
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...is full of smoke and everyone is choking. With Matt’s help she drags Laura and Jonny into the kitchen, then ventures down in the basement to turn off the furnace. She... (full context)
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...has been too distracted to do for days. Laura wants Peter to come look at Jonny, but Miranda doesn’t have the heart to tell her Peter has died, so she says... (full context)
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...17-26. Miranda continues to struggle with everyone’s chores. At times she resents this. Laura and Jonny are starting to be strong enough to take a few steps, but Miranda worries that... (full context)
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...that he’ll be a burden. Miranda reminds him that he hurt himself saving Laura and Jonny, and that he’s her hero regardless of his strength. (full context)
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February 7. Laura’s birthday is celebrated by small tokens of love, like Jonny letting her beat him at chess and Matt walking to and from the stairs. She... (full context)
Chapter 20
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February 9-18. Miranda and Jonny continue to practice on the skis. Matt works on rebuilding his strength. Laura finds tulip... (full context)
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February 20-22. Jonny has cut down to one meal a day like the rest of his family. Miranda... (full context)
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...eating a few days a week and Miranda agrees, despite the fact that Matt and Jonny will continue to eat one meal daily. Miranda starts to imagine her ideal order for... (full context)
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...food in the pantry if they’re all eating, and two weeks if just Matt and Jonny do. Miranda wonders if it’s easier to stop eating than just have a few sips... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...with more of the supplies they’re owed. Laura sobs, Matt shakes Mr. Danworth’s hand, and Jonny pokes through the bag as Mr. Danworth reassures them that since they’ve made it this... (full context)