One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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One of Us is Lying: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Thursday afternoon at lunchtime, Bronwyn notices that everyone around her is suddenly pulling out their phones and whispering—some of them are even staring right at her. Maeve shows Bronwyn her phone. Someone has made another blog post to About This, featuring Simon’s final About That post—the post revealing all four of the detention group’s secrets. At the bottom of the post is a note urging readers to try and “connect the dots”; it asks if someone is “pulling the strings” or if all four students are in it together.
The unthinkable happens, and all of Addy, Bronwyn, Nate, and Cooper’s secrets are thrust out into the open. It’s clear that someone wants to seriously wound these four—which makes it seem impossible that one of them is the virulent, angry blogger who’s determined to keep Simon’s legacy of rumor-mongering and secret-airing alive.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Millennial Problems Theme Icon
As Bronwyn’s friends Kate and Yumiko approach her to ask what’s going on, a voice over the loudspeaker summons Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate to the main office. Bronwyn walks “like a zombie” past her staring, whispering classmates straight to Principal Gupta’s office, where she is the last to arrive. Gupta tells everyone that though she’s aware they all have legal representation, she wants her office to be a “safe space” where they can reveal anything that might help the school understand the truth behind the rumors. Cooper and Addy insist they have nothing else to say, and then Gupta is quickly called out of her office—the police are on the phone.
Things are getting out of control, and the school administration can barely keep up with the social media assaults, the press attention, and the tragedy of losing a student. Gupta wants to offer her students a chance to divulge their secrets on their own terms, but they are all so traumatized by having their secrets aired that they have nothing more to say.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Millennial Problems Theme Icon
Gupta leaves Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate in her office—it is the first time the four of them have been in one room since they met with Officer Budapest last week. They discuss how “unreal” their situation is, and speculate that far more students than just the four of them had motive to kill Simon—he had been leaking people’s secrets and ruining people’s lives for years. When Principal Gupta returns, Cooper tells her that the four of them will not say anything else to her; she lets them know that her door is always open to them, but they are all already filing out.
The four students have been told to keep away from one another by their legal counsel, and remain mostly separated from one another by social standing; this is the first time they’ve been able to confront one another in private, and yet all they can discuss is how numb they are to what’s happening.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Wisdom of the Youth Theme Icon
Millennial Problems Theme Icon
Bronwyn is anxious all day—until midnight, when Nate calls her on the burner phone. He has been calling her every night since Monday, divulging secrets about his painful home life or just staying on the phone with her as they watch movies simultaneously. Before they start a movie tonight, Bronwyn confesses that she wishes she could remember more about the day Simon died; she is distressed that the police have barely paid any attention to the matter of the dummy cell phones placed in everyone’s bags. Bronwyn wishes she could figure out who the murderer is herself—but she has to admit that out of the four of them she doesn’t really know anyone, even Nate.
The only person bringing Bronwyn any sense of calm or solidarity in all this is Nate. Though earlier, all four students were unable to really find any common ground other than shock, Bronwyn feels that she and Nate are connecting more deeply all the time. In the back of her mind is the fact that she still doesn’t truly know him—but she decides to explore whatever it is they’re doing in spite of that fact.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
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