Before I Fall

by

Lauren Oliver

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Samantha Kingston Character Analysis

The protagonist of the novel, Sam Kingston is an average teen girl: she is more popular than most, but she has a lingering insecurity from years of having been bullied as a younger girl. This insecurity often drives her to engage in cruel or petty behavior in the name of upholding her social status and newfound popularity. Sam Kingston seems to have it all at the start of the novel: a solid place on the social ladder, a loyal group of girlfriends (including the fearless, sexy, ultra-popular Lindsay Edgecombe), and a hot, popular boyfriend to whom she is preparing to lose her virginity. However, at a party on “Cupid Day” (her school’s Valentine’s Day), her life unravels: her boyfriend Rob becomes too drunk to have sex, the school weirdo Juliet Sykes calls out Sam, Lindsay, and their best friends Elody and Ally for being “bitches,” the four girls publicly humiliate Juliet, and then the girls get into a car crash in which Sam dies. When Sam wakes up in her bed the next morning, she assumes that she survived the wreck, but as the day begins Sam realizes that the events of the previous day are repeating themselves: she is living Cupid Day all over again. Over the course of the next “week,” Sam will live out the events of Cupid Day again and again, and, as she struggles to understand what is happening to her and why, she begins reevaluating her role in the suffering and demeaning of many of her classmates, thinking about how she can try to turn things around and change the course of fate. As Sam manipulates small or large aspects of her behavior on Cupid Day, attempting to avoid her own death, she realizes that it was Juliet Sykes she and her friends hit in their car that first night: Juliet was suicidal, attempting to die by throwing herself into the road. As the days go by, Sam connects with many classmates to whom she’d never given the time of day, including the nerdy Kent McFuller (her childhood sweetheart), and even Juliet Sykes herself. Sam eventually and somewhat begrudgingly realizes that she was never meant to use the repeating time loop to save herself—she was always meant to try to redeem herself by saving Juliet, so she ultimately gives her own life to keep Juliet from dying.

Samantha Kingston Quotes in Before I Fall

The Before I Fall quotes below are all either spoken by Samantha Kingston or refer to Samantha Kingston. 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:
Fate vs. Agency Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Before I Fall published in 2010.
Chapter 1  Quotes

“Last year I got twenty-two roses.” Lindsay flicks her cigarette butt out of the window and leans over for a slurp of coffee. “I’m going for twenty-five this year.”
Each year before Cupid Day the student council sets up a booth outside the gym. For two dollars each, you can buy your friends Valograms—roses with little notes attached to them—which then get delivered by Cupids (usually freshman or sophomore girls trying to get in good with the upperclassman) throughout the day.

“I’d be happy with fifteen,” I say. It’s a big deal how many roses you get. You can tell who’s popular and who isn’t by the number of roses they’re holding. It’s bad if you get under ten and humiliating if you don’t get more than five—it basically means that you’re either ugly or unknown. Probably both. Sometimes people scavenge for dropped roses to add to their bouquets, but you can always tell.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Lindsay Edgecombe (speaker)
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:

The point is, we can do [embarrassing] things. You know why? Because we’re popular. And we’re popular because we can get away with everything. So it’s circular. I guess what I’m saying is there’s no point in analyzing it. If you draw a circle, there will always be an inside and an outside, and unless you’re a total nut job, it’s pretty easy to see which is which. I’m not going to lie, though. It’s nice that everything’s easy for us. It’s a good feeling knowing you can basically do whatever you want. […] And believe me: I know what it’s like to be on the other side. I was there for the first half of my life. The bottom of the bottom, lowest of the low. I know what it’s like to have to squabble and pick and fight over the leftovers. So now I have first pick of everything. So what. That’s the way it is. Nobody ever said life was fair.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker)
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

I know some of you are thinking maybe I deserved it. Maybe I shouldn’t have sent that rose to Juliet or dumped my drink on her at the party. Maybe I shouldn’t have copped off Lauren Lornet’s quiz. Maybe I shouldn’t have said those things to Kent. There are probably some of you who think I deserved it because I was going to let Rob go all the way—because I wasn’t going to save myself. But before you start pointing fingers, let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that? Is what I did really so much worse than what anybody else does? Is it really so much worse than what you do?

Page Number: 80-81
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2  Quotes

I read once that you get déjà vu when the two halves of your brain process things at different speeds: the right half a few seconds before the left, or vice versa. Science is probably my worst subject, so I didn’t understand the whole post, but that would explain the weird double feeling that it leaves you with, like the world is splitting in half—or you are. That’s the way I feel, at least: like there’s a real me and a reflection of me, and I have no way of telling which is which.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker)
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:

Lindsay, Ally, Elody and I are as close as you can be, but there are still some things we never talk about. For example, even though Lindsay says Patrick is her first and only, this isn’t technically true. Technically, her first was a guy she met at a party when she was visiting her stepbrother at NYU. They smoked pot, split a six-pack, and had sex, and he never knew she hadn’t done it before. We don’t talk about that. We don’t talk about the fact that we can never hang out at Elody’s house after five o’clock because her mother will be home, and drunk. We don’t talk about the fact that Ally never eats more than a quarter of what’s on her plate, even though she’s obsessed with cooking and watches the Food Network for hours on end. We don’t talk about the joke that for years trailed me down hallways, into classrooms, and on the bus, that wove its way into my dreams: “What’s red and white and weird all over? Sam Kingston!” And we definitely don’t talk about the fact that Lindsay was the one who made it up. A good friend keeps secrets for you. A best friend helps you keep your own secrets.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Lindsay Edgecombe, Elody, Ally Harris, Patrick
Page Number: 106-107
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Here’s one of the things I learned that morning: if you cross a line and nothing happens, the line loses meaning. It’s like that old riddle about a tree falling in the forest, and whether it makes a sound if there’s no one around to hear it. You keep drawing a line farther and farther away, crossing it every time. That’s how people end up stepping off the edge of the earth. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to bust out of orbit, to spin out to a place where no one can touch you. To lose yourself—to get lost.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker)
Page Number: 194-195
Explanation and Analysis:

Anna’s face gets serious, and she takes a long pull of the joint, then stares at me through the cloud of blue smoke.

“So,” she says, “why do you guys hate me?”

Of all the things I expect her to say, it’s not this. Even more unexpected, she holds the spliff out in my direction, offering me some. I hesitate for only a second. Hey, just because I’m dead doesn’t mean I’m a saint.

“We don’t hate you.” It doesn’t come out convincingly. The truth is I’m not sure. I don’t hate Anna, really; Lindsay’s always said she does, but it’s hard to know what Lindsay’s reasons are for anything. […]

“Then what’s the reason?” She doesn’t say, For all the shitty things you’ve done. For the bathroom graffiti. For the fake email blast sophomore year: Anna Cartullo has chlamydia. She doesn’t have to. She passes the joint back to me. I take another hit. […] “I don’t know.” Because it’s easy. “I guess you need to take things out on somebody. The words are out of my mouth before I realize they’re true.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Anna Cartullo (speaker), Lindsay Edgecombe
Page Number: 217-218
Explanation and Analysis:

“It’s not my fault I can’t be like you, okay? I don’t get up in the morning thinking the world is one big shiny, happy place, okay? That’s just not how I work. I don’t think I can be fixed.” I meant to say, I don’t think “it” can be fixed, but it comes out wrong, and suddenly I’m on the verge of crying. […] There’s a moment of silence that seems to last forever. Then Kent rests his hand on my elbow just for a second, [and] just that one little touch gives me the chills.

“I was going to tell you that you look beautiful with your hair down. That’s all I was going to say.” Kent’s voice is steady and low. He moves around me to the head of the stairs, pausing just at the top. When he turns back to me he looks sad, even though he’s smiling the tiniest bit. “You don’t need to be fixed, Sam.” He says the words, but it’s like I don’t even hear them; it’s like they go through my whole body at the same time, like I’m absorbing them from the air. […] I’m a nonperson, a shadow, a ghost. Even before the accident I’m not sure that I was a whole person—that’s what I’m realizing now. And I’m not sure where the damage begins.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Kent McFuller (speaker)
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:

Ally takes a sip of the vodka she’s holding, then winces. “Lindsay was freaking out. I told you, she was really upset.”

“It's true though, isn't it? What I said.”

“It doesn't matter if it’s true.” Ally shakes her head. “She's Lindsay. She's ours. We're each other's, you know?”

I’ve never thought of Ally as smart, but this is probably the smartest thing I’ve heard in a long time.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Ally Harris (speaker), Lindsay Edgecombe
Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

“I thought Cupid Day was one of your favorites.”

“It is. Or, I mean, it was.” I sit up on my elbows. “I don’t know, it’s kind of stupid, if you think about it.”

[My mom] raises her eyebrows.

I start rattling on, not really thinking about what I want to say before I say it. “The whole point is just to show other people how many friends you have. But everybody knows how many friends everybody else has. And it’s not like you actually get more friends this way or, I don’t know, get closer to the friends you do have.”

My mom smiles a tiny bit. “Well, you’re lucky to have very good friends, and to know it. I’m sure the roses are very meaningful to some people.”

“I’m just saying, the whole thing is kind of sleazy.”

“This doesn’t sound like the Samantha Kingston I know.”
“Yeah, well, maybe I’m changing.” I don’t mean those words either, until I hear them. Then I think that they might be true, and I feel a flicker of hope. Maybe there’s still a chance for me, after all. Maybe I have to change.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker)
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 271-272
Explanation and Analysis:

It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new. Just one false step, one pause, one detour, and you end up with new friends or a bad reputation or a boyfriend or a breakup. It’s never occurred to me before; I’ve never been able to see it. And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all of these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different. Maybe Lindsay and I are best friends and he hate each other, both. Maybe I’m only one math class away from being a slut like Anna Cartullo. Maybe I am like her, deep down. Maybe we all are: just one lunch period away from eating alone in the bathroom. I wonder if it’s ever really possible to know the truth about someone else, or if the best we can do is just stumble into each other, heads down, hoping to avoid collision.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Lindsay Edgecombe, Anna Cartullo
Page Number: 285-286
Explanation and Analysis:

Maybe the whole point is I have to prove that I'm a good person. Maybe I have to prove that I deserve to move on. Maybe Juliet Sykes is the only thing between me and an eternity of chocolate fountains and perfect love and guys who always call when they say they will and banana sundaes that

actually help you burn calories. Maybe she's my ticket out.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Juliet Sykes
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:

The wind shrieks, and I suddenly realize that Juliet's only a half inch from the road, teetering on the thin line where the pavement begins, like she's balancing on a tightrope.

“Maybe you should come away from the road,” I say, but all the time in the back of my head, there’s an idea growing and swelling, a horrible, sickening realization, massing up and taking shape like clouds on the horizon. Someone calls my name again. And then, still in the distance, I hear the throaty wail of “Splinter” by Fallacy pumping from someone's car.

“Sam! Sam!” I recognize it as Kent's voice now.

Juliet turns to face me then. She’s smiling, but it's the saddest smile I’ve ever seen.

“Maybe next time,” she says. “But probably not.”

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Kent McFuller (speaker), Juliet Sykes (speaker)
Related Symbols: Roses
Page Number: 323-324
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

“Do you want any breakfast, Sam?” my mom asks. I never eat breakfast at home, but my mom still asks me every day—when she catches me before I duck out, anyway—and in that moment I realize how much I love the little everyday routines of my life: the fact that she always asks, the fact that I always say no because there’s a sesame bagel waiting for me in Lindsay’s car, the fact that we always listen to “No More Drama” as we pull into the parking lot. The fact that my mom always cooks spaghetti and meatballs on Sunday, and the fact that once a month my dad takes over the kitchen and makes his “special stew” which is just hot dog pieces and baked beans and lots of extra ketchup and molasses, and I would never admit to liking it, but it’s actually one of my favorite meals. The details that are my life’s special pattern, like how in handwoven rugs what really makes them unique are the tiny flaws in the stitching, little gaps and jumps and stutters that can never be reproduced. So many things become beautiful when you really look.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker)
Page Number: 343-344
Explanation and Analysis:

[Lindsay] doesn't hate [Juliet.] She's afraid of her. Juliet Sykes, the keeper of Lindsay’s oldest, maybe her worst, secret. And it all seems absurd now, the chance and randomness of it. One person shoots up and the other spirals downward—random and meaningless. As simple as being in the right place, or the wrong place, or however you want to look at it. As simple as getting a craving for Diet Pepsi one day at a pool party, and getting swept away; as simple as not saying no.

“Why didn't you say anything?” I ask, even though I already know the answer. My voice comes out hoarse from the effort of swallowing back tears.

Juliet shrugs. “She was my best friend, you know? She was always so sad back then.” Juliet makes a noise that could be a laugh or a whimper. “Besides,” she says more quietly, “I thought it would pass.”

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Juliet Sykes (speaker), Lindsay Edgecombe
Page Number: 393
Explanation and Analysis:

At the same time the more I think about it […] the angrier I get. This is my life: the whole big, sprawling mess of my life in all its possibilities—first kisses and last kisses and college and apartments and marriage and fights and apologies and happiness—brought to a point, a second, an edge of a second, razored off in that final moment by Juliet’s last act: her revenge against us, against me. The farther I get from the party, the more I think, No. It can't happen this way. No matter what we did, it can't happen this way.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Juliet Sykes
Page Number: 398
Explanation and Analysis:

She wants me to tell her it’s okay. She needs me to tell her that. I can’t, though. Instead I say, quietly, “People would like you anyway, Lindz.” I don’t say, if you stopped pretending so much, but I know she understands. “We’d still love you no matter what.”

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Lindsay Edgecombe
Page Number: 410
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

The last time I have the dream it goes like this: I am falling, tumbling through the air, but this time the darkness is alive around me, full of beating things, and I realize that I'm not surrounded by dark but have only had my eyes closed all this time. I open them, feeling silly, and at the same time a hundred thousand butterflies take off around me, so many of them in so many brilliant colors they are like a solid rainbow, temporarily obscuring the sun. But as they wing higher and higher they reveal a landscape below us, all green and gold and sun-drenched fields and pink-tinged clouds drifting underneath me, and the air around me is clear and blue and sweet smelling, and I'm laughing, laughing, laughing as I spin through the air because, of course, I haven't been falling all this time.

I've been flying.

And when I wake up it's wonderful, like I've been carried quietly onto a calm, peaceful shore, and the dream, and its meaning, has broken over me like a wave and is ebbing away now, leaving me with a single, solid certainty. I know now.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker)
Page Number: 416
Explanation and Analysis:

In my head I've been saying good-bye to everything, all these places I’ve seen so often I start to ignore them: the deli on the hill with perfect chicken cutlets and the trinket store where I used to buy thread to make friendship bracelets and the Realtor’s and the dentist's and the little garden where Steve King put his tongue in my mouth in seventh grade, and I was so surprised I bit down. I can't stop thinking about how strange life is, about Kent and Juliet and even Alex and Anna and Bridget and Mr. Shaw and Ms. Winters—about how complex and connected everything is, all threaded together like some vast, invisible netting—and how sometimes you can think you're doing the right thing, but it's actually terrible and vice versa.

Page Number: 424
Explanation and Analysis:

Floating images, moving in and out: bright green eyes and a field of sun-warmed grass, a mouth saying, Sam, Sam, Sam, making it sound like a song. Three faces blooming together like flowers on a single stem, names ebbing away from me, a single word: love. Red and white flashes, tree branches lit up like the vaulted ceiling of a church. And a face above mine, white and beautiful, eyes as large as the moon. You saved me. A hand on my cheek, cool and dry. Why did you save me? Words welling up on a tide: No. The opposite. Eyes the color of a dawn sky, a crown of blond hair, so bright and white and blinding I could swear it was a halo.

Related Characters: Samantha Kingston (speaker), Juliet Sykes
Page Number: 468
Explanation and Analysis:
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Before I Fall PDF

Samantha Kingston Character Timeline in Before I Fall

The timeline below shows where the character Samantha Kingston appears in Before I Fall. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue
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Samantha Kingston states that, although people often say that “just before you die your whole life... (full context)
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Sam thought of a time in fourth grade when Lindsay announced that she didn’t want Vicky... (full context)
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Another “weird” thing that happened to Sam in the moments before her death was the realization that she and her friends had... (full context)
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Sam notes that “you don’t get to know” when you’ll die. The moment is unpredictable and... (full context)
Chapter 1 
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Sam’s best friend Lindsay calls to her from the driveway—it is six fifty-five in the morning,... (full context)
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...of her “tank” of a car—a silver Range Rover. Lindsay is the only one of Sam’s friends other than Ally whose car actually belongs to her. Sam sometimes borrows her mother’s... (full context)
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Although today Sam and her friends are deliberately dressed the same, everyone in her high school pretty much... (full context)
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...since the start of the school year) had better send her some Cupid Day roses. Sam commiserates, telling Lindsay that she herself had to sit next to her boyfriend Rob while... (full context)
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Lindsay tells Sam that she is shooting for twenty-five roses this year—last year, she got twenty-two. Sam tells... (full context)
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Lindsay switches the subject, asking Sam if she’s ready for “opening night.” Sam shrugs, deflecting, but privately notes that tonight is... (full context)
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Lindsay condescendingly assures Sam that everything will go fine between her and Rob, and Sam privately thinks about how... (full context)
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Lindsay and Sam arrive at Elody’s house to pick her up. Despite the cold, Elody is wearing three-inch... (full context)
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Sam muses on the “weird” nature of popularity, and attempts to analyze it. Popularity can’t be... (full context)
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Sam wonders if there’s even a point in trying to analyze popularity before stating that, regardless... (full context)
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As the girls gather their things and prepare to head into school, Elody passes Sam a condom, and wishes her luck on her “big night.” As Sam accepts the condom,... (full context)
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During her first two class periods, Sam only gets five roses, but she tries not to stress about it—despite the fact that... (full context)
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Sam does not know the answer to a single question on the quiz, so she tries... (full context)
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After fourth period life skills, Sam heads to fifth period calculus. Cupids—underclassman girls dressed in playful costumes—come to class to pass... (full context)
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Sam checks the note attached to the rose—there is a cartoon of Cupid shooting a bald... (full context)
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After class, Kent approaches Sam to tell her that his parents are going away for the weekend, and he’s having... (full context)
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As Sam arrives at the cafeteria for lunch, she sees Rob standing by the register with a... (full context)
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Sam joins Ally at their favorite table, and they compare rose bouquets—each of them has received... (full context)
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Throughout her conversation with Ally, Sam has been watching Rob come closer and closer out of the corner of her eye.... (full context)
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...gets up and makes a big show of ceding his chair to Lindsay. Rob kisses Sam goodbye and tells her he’ll see her later—he whispers in her ear that she should... (full context)
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...tease her about having slept with people to get the roses, Ally sees something over Sam’s shoulder and starts singing a Talking Heads song: “Psycho killer, qu’est-ce que c’est.” The girls... (full context)
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...the rose in the trash right in front of her at the end of class. Sam reveals that every year, she and her friends have sent Juliet a single rose with... (full context)
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...after Juliet peed in her sleeping bag on a Girl Scout trip. It occurs to Sam as she watches Juliet walk away from the cafeteria that she doesn’t know why Lindsay... (full context)
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...make fun of Sarah for being so obsessed with a sport, and then begin teasing Sam for having been into horseback riding as a little girl. (full context)
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After lunch, Lindsay and Sam decide to cut class and go to TCBY for frozen yogurt. The two of them... (full context)
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...station, a TCBY, and a questionable Chinese restaurant which once gave Elody food poisoning. As Sam and Lindsay pass the restaurant they spot two of their classmates inside—Alex Liment and Anna... (full context)
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Lindsay drags Sam inside the restaurant and goes up to Anna and Alex’s table. She is sort of... (full context)
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...sees Ms. Winters, the vice principal who has a “crazy vendetta” against people who smoke. Sam wonders if the two of them should go back and warn Alex and Anna that... (full context)
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Sam recounts the history of her friendship with Lindsay. In seventh grade, “after years of trying,”... (full context)
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In seventh grade, at a pool party at Tara Flute’s house, Lindsay pulled Sam upstairs into Tara’s room to show her two tampons she had found in another girls’... (full context)
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...the party in Ally’s room, doing each other’s makeup and taking shots of vodka. Once Sam is ready, she locks herself in the bathroom and looks at herself in the mirror.... (full context)
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As the girls load themselves into Lindsay’s car and drive to Kent’s house, Sam has a strange feeling—as if she is “floating above everything.” Elody howls along to the... (full context)
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...says aloud that “This is how horror movies start.” The drive, however, is familiar to Sam, who used to come over to Kent’s house all the time when she was little.... (full context)
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Sam loves walking into parties: she always gets the feeling that anything could happen. Inside the... (full context)
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Rob leans into kiss Sam, but she turns away and looks for her friends. Instead she spots Kent McFuller talking... (full context)
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Ally approaches Sam and Rob, telling them to “get a room.” Rob goes off to refill his beer.... (full context)
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By the time Ally and Sam get to Lindsay and Patrick, the two of them have made up. Elody is hanging... (full context)
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When Sam opens her eyes, she is greeted with a massive shock: Juliet Sykes is standing in... (full context)
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...of Juliet’s presence, and they stare at her as she walks “slowly and confidently” toward Sam and her friends. Juliet stops just in front of Lindsay, looks her in the eye,... (full context)
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At that moment, Kent enters the room. He locks eyes with Sam, who immediately feels hot and uncomfortable. Sam feels like she is about to be sick,... (full context)
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As Sam heads downstairs to find Rob, she has a sinking realization that tonight is not “the... (full context)
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The party begins to wind down after about half an hour. Sam leaves with Elody, Ally, and Lindsay; on the way out, they see couples drunkenly making... (full context)
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As the girls leave the party, Rob stops them, and asks Sam where she’s going. Sam tells Rob to let her go and pushes him away from... (full context)
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...They are all soaked by the time they reach the Range Rover, laughing hysterically, and Sam has practically forgotten about how bad the night was. As Lindsay begins driving, Sam notices... (full context)
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...there is a flash of white in front of the car, and Lindsay shouts something Sam can’t make out—something like “sit” or “shit” or “sight.” Suddenly, their car is flipping off... (full context)
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...awful things to Kent, many people will think she got exactly what she deserved. But, Sam begs her readers, before pointing fingers, they should ask themselves if what she did is... (full context)
Chapter 2 
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Sam is dreaming. She is falling, but there is no up or down—she is frightened, but... (full context)
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Izzy bursts into the room and tells Sam that their mother has sent her to wake Sam up. Izzy tugs at the necklace... (full context)
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Sam is disoriented, and when she tries to stand up, she nearly falls over. She rushes... (full context)
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Sam again tries to get in the shower, but Lindsay insists that she can’t be late... (full context)
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...to school, after the girls pick up Elody, Lindsay swerves and jerks her Range Rover. Sam begs Lindsay to drive carefully, and Lindsay, echoing the very thing she said the day... (full context)
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Elody picks up on Sam’s nervous energy, but, assuming it is because she’s nervous about losing her virginity, reassures her... (full context)
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As the girls pull up to school, running late, Sam takes in the familiar outfits her classmates are wearing—everything looks exactly the same as it... (full context)
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Elody digs through her purse and passes Sam a condom. Before Elody can say it, Sam does: “No glove, no love.” As the... (full context)
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As Sam begins her school day, she feels as if she has been split in half—she knows... (full context)
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Feeling shaken up, Sam ducks into a bathroom, where Ally is waiting for her. Sam goes into a stall... (full context)
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Sam already knows what happens next: she goes to chem class, takes the last available seat... (full context)
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In calculus, when Sam’s roses get delivered, she feels a wild bit of hope that Rob’s note will say... (full context)
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Kent, deflated, nevertheless still invites Sam to his party that evening, but before he can get the details out, Sam spots... (full context)
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Sam tries to convince Rob that they should hang out earlier that evening, but Rob tells... (full context)
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That evening, at Ally’s, Sam and Lindsay lie on Ally’s bed. Sam has had four shots of vodka and is... (full context)
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...or the fact that Lindsay was the one who made up the cruel song about Sam back in elementary school. Best friends, Sam says, help one another keep their own secrets... (full context)
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...“horny” she was. Both girls dissolve into giggles, until Lindsay suddenly gets serious, and asks Sam if she can tell her a secret. Sam’s heart flutters—she thinks that Lindsay is having... (full context)
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...house and enter the party, heading upstairs to the center of the action. Lindsay tells Sam she’s going off to find Patrick, but Sam doesn’t want to be alone, and asks... (full context)
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Sam realizes that someone is talking to her—Bridget McGuire is asking about whether an assignment was... (full context)
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As Sam realizes that the events of today are different than yesterday, she at last understands that... (full context)
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After ten minutes have passed, Sam realizes Rob isn’t coming back for her. She begins feeling more and more anxious, but... (full context)
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Sam, feeling weak and lightheaded, wants to find somewhere dark and quiet to be alone. The... (full context)
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...approaches Lindsay and calls her a bitch. One by one, she calls Elody, Ally, and Sam bitches, too. The events of the previous night repeat themselves—everyone at the party calls Juliet... (full context)
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Sam and her friends are all in Lindsay’s car, heading home from the party. It is... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Sam is falling again, convinced that she is dreaming. Her alarm goes off, and she wakes... (full context)
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Sam remembers being in the car and going off the road, but after that, she remembers... (full context)
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Sam’s mother appears in the doorway and urges her to get ready—Lindsay will arrive any minute.... (full context)
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Sam’s mother agrees to tell Lindsay that Sam will be going in late, and urges her... (full context)
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Sam begins to believe that perhaps she is lying somewhere in a coma—she is filled with... (full context)
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Sam arrives late to chemistry class, and the events of the class repeat themselves—there is a... (full context)
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By calculus, Sam is in a good mood—she has started to feel that everything is going to be... (full context)
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Sam experiences a vivid memory of playing with maple seeds with Kent, adorning themselves with the... (full context)
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In the cafeteria, Sam tells her friends that she can’t go out that night. She insists that she wants... (full context)
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Rob comes up to the girls’ table and asks Sam what she wants to talk about. She tells him that she doesn’t want to talk... (full context)
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“Psychopath alert,” says Lindsay—Juliet Sykes has just walked into the cafeteria. Sam has been so focused on herself today that she forgot about Juliet entirely. As she... (full context)
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Lindsay and Sam cut class again and head to TCBY. Sam is happy that everything is working out... (full context)
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...looks into Mr. Shaw’s office. Suddenly, the office door opens, and Mr. Shaw walks in. Sam ducks and stays silent, hoping she won’t be caught. She hears the bell ring, but... (full context)
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...teachers lament the smoking epidemic on campus and discuss how rebellious and difficult teenagers are—then Sam hears the two of them kissing and moaning. Sam is disgusted, but after a few... (full context)
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Sam heads to her locker to grab her Spanish textbook, and is walking down the hall... (full context)
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Lauren begins to sob and tells Sam that she’s a bitch. The words—echoing Juliet’s—make Sam go cold. Lauren immediately apologizes to Sam... (full context)
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Lindsay, Elody, Ally, and Sam are all enjoying tuna rolls and movies on Ally’s giant couch. Sam can’t relax, though—it... (full context)
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...bids the girls goodnight, and as she leaves, they all laugh and resume their fun. Sam laughs with them—she believes she has broken the loop at last. An hour later, the... (full context)
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Sam hears footsteps upstairs—Ally’s mother is answering the phone. The girls wonder who is calling at... (full context)
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...Lindsay shuts the girls up by telling them that Juliet is “better off this way.” Sam is in shock—both at Lindsay’s words and at the violent way in which Juliet Sykes... (full context)
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Sam, now doubly restless, gets up off of the sofa. She tells Lindsay that she is... (full context)
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Sam is seized by a sudden need to get out of the basement as quickly as... (full context)
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Sam returns to the couch—after a little while, Lindsay does, too. Sam lies down and tries... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Sam knows before she even opens her eyes in the morning that her plan did not... (full context)
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Lindsay comments snidely on Sam’s outfit—Sam has rolled her skirt to make it shorter and is wearing five-inch platform heels... (full context)
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Sam leans her head against the window and wonders how she is going to survive an... (full context)
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Elody gets into the car and greets Sam and Lindsay sunnily, but Sam does not return Elody’s happy energy. Elody tells Sam that... (full context)
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Sam turns around and accepts the condom from Elody. As she faces front again, Lindsay slams... (full context)
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Elody quietly asks Sam to stop. Sam turns on Elody, then, asking her why she never stands up for... (full context)
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Sam skips her first four periods, walking the halls without any goal or destination. She half-wishes... (full context)
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...his desk and gestures for the class to take their seats. As the lesson begins, Sam fantasizes about kissing Mr. Daimler—until Kent walks in, late and disheveled, complaining about a printer... (full context)
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A few people gasp, and a couple girls tell Sam that she can’t throw out her roses—it just isn’t done. Sam tells the girls she... (full context)
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Mr. Daimler orders Sam to sit in her own seat, and she returns to it. Throughout the rest of... (full context)
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...of class, Mr. Daimler reminds his students to study over the weekend, and sternly asks Sam to hang back and talk to him. After the rest of the class has left... (full context)
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Mr. Daimler asks Sam what she was thinking, but she replies that she doesn’t know what he means—she asks... (full context)
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Mr. Daimler hesitates, then walks up to Sam and begins kissing her, bending her backward over a student desk. Sam feels tiny and... (full context)
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Mr. Daimler backs off of Sam, and tells her that what happened between them needs to stay within the classroom—he practically... (full context)
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When Sam enters the cafeteria, she finds that her usual lunch table is empty—she knows she has... (full context)
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Anna asks Sam if her high heels are hard to walk in. Sam insists she can walk, but... (full context)
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Anna and Sam smoke the joint together, and Anna asks Sam why Sam and all her friends hate... (full context)
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...that she has somewhere to be. She knocks over her stash of rolling papers and Sam helps her collect them all up off the ground, remarking as she does that Anna... (full context)
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Sam tells Anna that she’s too good for Alex, and Anna jokingly replies that Sam is... (full context)
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Sam gets off with a warning after she threatens Ms. Winters with revealing her relationship with... (full context)
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Sam hears someone calling her name—she turns around to see three girls coming toward her. Tara... (full context)
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On the drive to the mall, Sam tells the Pugs all about Ms. Winters and Mr. Shaw, and how she leveraged her... (full context)
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At the mall, Sam takes herself on a shopping spree. At Bebe, she buys herself a three-hundred-dollar dress, and... (full context)
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...pull out of the parking lot at the mall, they all gush about how “awesome” Sam is. As they leave the lot, they see a group of four guys driving next... (full context)
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At Tara’s house, the girls help Sam put on her fancy new clothes and accessories. Sam is amazed by how old she... (full context)
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Sam and the Pugs arrive at the party—Rob spots Sam almost immediately and pushes his way... (full context)
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Kent, disappointed, tells Sam that everyone’s right about her. Sam berates Kent for pretending he’s better than anyone else... (full context)
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The moment is ruined when Tara bounds up the stairs and pulls Sam back down to get some liquor—they come to a door which is covered in signs... (full context)
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Sam recounts a story from last year: Lindsay went to visit her stepbrother at NYU, and... (full context)
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...had drunkenly lost her virginity in New York to a random guy at a party. Sam knew as soon as Lindsay finished recounting the story that their group would file it... (full context)
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Lindsay insisted she’d just eaten too fast, but Sam had no idea whether or not Lindsay was telling the truth. After the girls were... (full context)
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Back at the party, Sam has lost track of Lindsay, Elody, and Ally. She’s been drinking for an hour since... (full context)
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Sam feels she cannot watch this moment unfold yet again. She stumbles through the crowd of... (full context)
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Rob drags Sam into a dark room, and the two of them begin making out on the bed.... (full context)
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As Sam moves through the party, people give her suspicious looks, and one girl snidely warns Sam... (full context)
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Sam apologizes for coming back to the living room despite the do-not-enter signs, but Kent insists... (full context)
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Kent leads Sam through his giant house to a secluded guest room where the sounds of the party... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Sam says that back then, she was “still looking for answers”—she still wanted to know why... (full context)
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Sam wakes up gasping, her alarm pulling her up out of sleep. Though it is now... (full context)
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Sam playfully tickles Izzy, and the noises of their laughter bring their mother to the door.... (full context)
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Sam’s mother sends Izzy downstairs to eat breakfast, and once Izzy is gone, she asks Sam... (full context)
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Sam’s mother asks her if something bad has happened with any of her friends, and Sam... (full context)
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Sam’s mother tells Izzy she can’t stay home, but Sam implores her mother to let her.... (full context)
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Sam reflects on the things she loved as a child which she abandoned or forgot as... (full context)
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Sam returned to Goose Point over the years to reflect, to be alone, or to get... (full context)
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Sam leads Izzy through the woods, and as they go, Sam is struck by how small... (full context)
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Sam asks Izzy if the other kids at school make fun of her for her voice—Izzy... (full context)
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Izzy asks Sam about the necklace she is wearing—Sam replies that it was a gift from their grandmother,... (full context)
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When Sam gets home, she has three new texts: Lindsay, Elody, and Ally have all texted her... (full context)
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Sam feels that a thousand possibilities exist at the same time and wonders if perhaps multiple... (full context)
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Sam and Izzy spend the rest of the day watching old cartoons and snacking, and when... (full context)
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A large group of freshmen and sophomores from Sam’s high school file into the restaurant—it is the swim team, fresh from a meet. Sam... (full context)
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Sam gets up and goes over to the girl—the whole table of students grows silent as... (full context)
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The whole way home, Sam can’t think of anything but Marian Sykes. Even after her whole family goes to bed... (full context)
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Sam dawdles on the way to Kent’s house, though, unsure of what to do, and finds... (full context)
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Sam pulls into the driveway despite knowing that she shouldn’t be there. She runs up to... (full context)
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Sam considers leaving while Juliet’s mother is in the kitchen, but instead she stays and looks... (full context)
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Juliet’s mother tells Sam that Juliet didn’t pick up her phone—she seems concerned, but Sam cheerfully reassures her that... (full context)
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Sam parks on the shoulder of the street and runs through the rainy woods with a... (full context)
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Lindsay calls to Elody and Ally, telling them that Sam is here, but is busy looking for her “best friend” Juliet. Sam, full of anger,... (full context)
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Sam sends someone to get Kent—when he comes back, Sam asks him to pick the lock... (full context)
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Sam hears a car honk and realizes she is close to the road. Relieved, Sam heads... (full context)
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Juliet grimly smiles and agrees—Sam doesn’t know her at all. Another car shoots by, and Sam realizes that Juliet is... (full context)
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Kent comes up behind Sam, and asks if she’s okay. Sam is in shock, and can only say that Lindsay,... (full context)
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Sam hears a scream coming from the woods and watches as Lindsay stumbles up to the... (full context)
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Kent places his hands on Sam’s arms and she tells him she needs to go find Lindsay at the hospital. Kent... (full context)
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Realizing that Sam’s clothes are soaking, Kent urges Sam to take a warm shower and put on a... (full context)
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Kent leads her to his own bedroom—a giant room bathed in beautiful moonlight. Kent helps Sam into his own bed, and tucks her in. Sam asks if Kent will stay with... (full context)
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Sam asks Kent to promise he will stay beside her throughout the night, and he agrees.... (full context)
Chapter 6
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In tonight’s dream, Sam can hear music. The music in her dream is coming from the guidance counselor’s office... (full context)
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Sam is thrilled to be awakened by her alarm clock in the morning. She’s grateful for... (full context)
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Sam hugs her parents and kisses Izzy on the head, showing them all a measure of... (full context)
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Sam hops into Lindsay’s Range Rover and greets her best friend happily. Sam thinks that Lindsay... (full context)
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When the girls arrive in the lower lot, Sam screams for Lindsay to brake quickly, allowing the girl from the swim team to get... (full context)
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...Juliet’s one rose with a huge bouquet—and an added note which reads “from your secret admirer”—Sam leaves the rose room elated. She is sure that her benevolent move will make things... (full context)
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As Sam moves through the halls between classes that morning, she finds herself scanning the crowds for... (full context)
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At lunch, Sam laughs with her friends, but scans the cafeteria repeatedly for signs of Kent or Juliet.... (full context)
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Rob asks Sam if she got his rose—she tells him that she cut fifth period. Rob indignantly says... (full context)
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At that moment, Juliet walks into the cafeteria. Sam watches her intensely, and Rob walks away. Juliet does not have a single rose with... (full context)
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As her friends raise their roses like glasses of champagne to cruelly “toast” Juliet, Sam leaves the cafeteria, looking for Juliet in the parking lot behind it. Sam is relieved,... (full context)
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At that moment, amazingly, Kent comes right up behind Sam. He tells her that it’s too bad she wasn’t in calculus earlier—she missed some roses.... (full context)
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Sam tells Kent she’s heard he’s having a party tonight, and that it’s the “place to... (full context)
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At Ally’s house, Sam obsessively checks and re-checks her makeup. Her friends tell her she’s “Freaking out,” and offer... (full context)
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As the girls drive to the party, Sam goes over what she is going to say to Kent in her head again and... (full context)
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Sam sees Kent in the corner of a room upstairs, talking to another girl. Sam turns... (full context)
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Sam tells Rob she’d like to make things up to him. She tells him they need... (full context)
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Ally comes up to Sam, who has by now lost sight of Kent. Sam asks Ally if she’s seen Kent... (full context)
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A few moments later, there is a scream, and Sam fears with a dread that Juliet has already arrived—instead, the scream is followed by laughter,... (full context)
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Sam, wanting to fix things for poor Bridget, asks if anyone smells Chinese food. Alex acts... (full context)
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Sam moves through the party, wondering if she is doing things right—and if she is still... (full context)
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Sam feels a hush fall around her, and sure enough, when she looks down the hall,... (full context)
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Sam tells Juliet that she is sorry for having made fun of her for so many... (full context)
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Sam is on the verge of tears, both sad for Juliet and frustrated that she herself... (full context)
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This reminds Sam of what she said to Kent a couple days ago about how she herself couldn’t... (full context)
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Juliet goes on to tell Sam that it was Lindsay who wet the sleeping bag on the Girl Scout trip, but... (full context)
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Sam asks Juliet why she never said anything, and Juliet says that she thought the harassment... (full context)
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As Sam heads into the woods, the rain is heavy and she feels hopeless, but the thought... (full context)
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Sam reaches the main road and scans the woods for Juliet. She finds herself in the... (full context)
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Juliet asks Sam what she’s doing, and Sam asks Juliet what she’s doing—Sam thought the whole point, she... (full context)
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Sam knows, though, that Juliet came to the party to use the girls’ reaction to her... (full context)
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An hour and a half later, Sam and Lindsay, having already dropped off Elody and Ally, are sitting in Lindsay’s driveway. Sam... (full context)
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As Lindsay gets out of the car, Sam stops her, asking if she remembers the time when Sam walked in on her purging... (full context)
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...is Kent’s car. He has been parked behind them the whole time, waiting to take Sam home after she drops Lindsay’s car off. As Lindsay prepares to head up toward her... (full context)
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Kent opens the passenger-side door of his car for Sam and she slides in. On the drive back to Sam’s house, neither of them says... (full context)
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Kent reaches out and cups Sam’s face in his hands but then pulls them away, apologizing. Sam feels her body “humming.”... (full context)
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...confess how much they like each other. After a moment, though, Kent realizes how tired Sam is, and helps her out of the car and toward the house. Sam asks Kent... (full context)
Chapter 7
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The last time Sam has the dream in which she is falling, the darkness is at last alive around... (full context)
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Sam reflects on how, when moving through life, you just don’t know when the last time... (full context)
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Sam says goodbye to her parents, after telling them that she loves them. As she heads... (full context)
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Outside, Sam takes in the cold air and the beautiful sunlight before joining Lindsay in the Range... (full context)
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...spot in the lower lot each morning, is now waiting for their spot at Starbucks. Sam laughs at the irony of the situation, and considers how deeply interconnected everything is. (full context)
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At school, Sam splits up with Lindsay and Elody and heads to the room where all the roses... (full context)
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When it’s time for calculus, Sam arrives early—she is the first person in Mr. Daimler’s class. Daimler comes over to her... (full context)
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Kent walks in, and Sam watches lovingly as he slides into his seat and fiddles with his hair. Sam can... (full context)
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Kent tells Sam that he’s having a party tonight—she tells him she’s heard, and that she might need... (full context)
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Sam asks Kent if she can count on him tonight, and he says that she can.... (full context)
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In the cafeteria, Rob approaches Sam to say hello. He tries to put his arm around her, but she steps away.... (full context)
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Rob protests that Sam can’t break up with him—he’s been waiting for her for months. His face contorts with... (full context)
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On the way to TCBY, Lindsay asks Sam why she’s acting so weird today. Lindsay also tells Sam that she heard a rumor... (full context)
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Sam greets Anna and tells her she has something for her—she gives her a book of... (full context)
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At Ally’s house after school, Sam privately lists the things she loves about each of her friends. She loves that Ally... (full context)
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The girls pull up to Kent’s house, and Sam tells them to go inside—she’s planning on driving Lindsay’s car back to Lindsay’s house. Lindsay... (full context)
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Sam texts Kent to pick her up at Lindsay’s, and then heads there herself. She worries,... (full context)
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Kent picks Sam up at Lindsay’s, and doesn’t ask any questions—why Sam was there, or why she needed... (full context)
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Inside, Lindsay, Elody, and Ally all welcome Sam warmly. They offer her a drink, but Sam tells them she wants to head outside... (full context)
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Downstairs Sam stands at the doorway, waiting for Juliet. When she walks in, Sam catches her and... (full context)
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It was Kent who called Sam—as he makes his way over to her, Sam is torn between going after Juliet and... (full context)
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Sam runs through the woods behind Kent’s house, calling for Juliet, while behind her, she hears... (full context)
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Sam hears a truck engine approaching, but Juliet isn’t moving into the road—she is just standing... (full context)
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Sam tells Juliet she doesn’t have to do this—Juliet retorts that Sam could never understand her.... (full context)
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Juliet tells Sam that it’s too late, but Sam replies that it’s never too late. Still, Juliet launches... (full context)
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...her, calling her name. One of the faces, white and beautiful, says: “You saved me.” Sam feels a hand on her cheek. She tries to speak and tell Juliet that “the... (full context)
Epilogue
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It’s often said that before you die, your whole life flashes before your eyes—but Sam, in her final moments, sees only her greatest hits: the things she wants to remember... (full context)
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Sam says she isn’t scared to die. The moment of death is full of sound, warmth,... (full context)