One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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One of Us is Lying: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Friday night, Bronwyn and Maeve sit together on Bronwyn’s bed counting down the minutes until a segment on Simon’s murder airs on the national show of Mikhail Powers, a popular news personality. Bronwyn and her family haven’t spoken to anyone affiliated with the program, despite numerous requests; as far as Bronwyn knows, no one else from school has, either. As Bronwyn waits anxiously, Maeve combs through 4chan threads looking for posts under Simon’s username—she soon finds a violent thread celebrating a recent school shooter, and realizes that Simon has posted on it. Bronwyn is shocked, but Maeve insists the internet is full of “weird people,” and wonders if it’s possible Simon made some enemies on these strange forums.
Even as the media zeroes in on Bronwyn, Nate, Addy, and Cooper, Maeve desperately searches for an alternative perspective on Simon’s death—and finds one. She finds disturbing and violent content linked to Simon’s usernames, and shares the upsetting social media presence with Bronwyn as a way of helping her sister open up a new avenue of possibility.
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Bronwyn’s parents call her downstairs so that their whole family can watch the show together; as the program begins, Bronwyn feels her stomach tighten into knots. Mikhail Powers profiles each of the “Bayview Four,” and Maeve is troubled by how out-of-context and rudimentary Powers’s introductions of Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate are. The only moment of relief comes when Powers interviews a lawyer from Until Proven, Eli Kleinfelter, who suggests that the investigation’s narrow focus on the Bayview Four is irresponsible.
Eli Kleinfelter echoes Bronwyn and Maeve’s belief that the focus of the investigation is far too narrow, and unfairly persecutes Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate with limited evidence. Bronwyn and Maeve have new information, though, and bolstered by hearing that someone in the justice world is on their side, they perhaps feel more emboldened to move forward with their own investigation.
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That night, on the phone with Nate, Bronwyn wonders aloud about getting a second opinion from Eli Kleinfelter, but Nate doesn’t want to discuss the investigation. He asks Bronwyn if she’s ever going to come over and hang out with him in person—Bronwyn is reluctant, and expresses trepidation about sleeping with Nate. Nate insists he isn’t trying to sleep with her—he just wants to spend time with her. Bronwyn says she’ll try to “figure something out” soon.
Though Bronwyn is preoccupied by thoughts of the investigation, Nate’s thoughts are becoming increasingly saturated with his relationship with Bronwyn. Bronwyn mirrors Nate’s interest, but has fears about taking things to a physical level—still, she can’t deny her interest in or attraction to Nate.
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Saturday afternoon, Cooper goes over to Keely’s house to break up with her. She tries to get him to stay with her, insisting that she doesn’t care about the investigation and is behind him no matter what—she doesn’t even care about what’s being posted on the new About This blog, including a post earlier that morning which suggested that Simon’s old posts contained “interesting hints” about the Bayview Four.
Cooper, perhaps spurred on by his grandmother’s advice, knows it’s time to do the right thing and break up with Keely—his heart just isn’t in it. Keely, however, is possibly addicted to the attention she gets by being with Cooper, and resists his attempt to end things.
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Keely asks Cooper if he’s breaking up with her because she hooked up with Nate just a few weeks before the two of them started going out the previous year. Cooper doesn’t seem affected by this new revelation, and Keely accuses him of not caring about her and just wanting her as “the right accessory for scouting season.” She accuses him of using steroids, a claim he vehemently denies before standing up to leave.
Keely inadvertently reveals a secret of her own to Cooper, but it doesn’t faze him. Keely, unable to get through to Cooper on any level, strikes a low blow, angering Cooper—this passage more than anything makes it clear that Cooper’s steroid use is not his real secret.
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