One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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One of Us is Lying: Chapter 24 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Thursday night after midnight, Nate parks his motorcycle out front of a house in the half-finished Bayview Estates neighborhood, which is still under construction. Bronwyn climbs off the back of his bike, and then she and Nate walk together over to one of the houses. Nate finds an open window and crawls in; Bronwyn clumsily follows him, and then the two go over to the front door to unlock it for Addy and Cooper. They still have five minutes until the others arrive—Nate pushes Bronwyn up against a wall and kisses her.
As Nate and Bronwyn prepare to get together with Cooper and Addy in order to look at their case with fresh eyes, their connection to one another is stronger than ever. They have been emboldened by their public coming-out as a couple and their refusal to deny what they feel for one another any longer.
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After a minute or two, the front door creaks open and Addy walks in—she has dyed her hair purple. Nate and Bronwyn lead her to a corner of the living room, where they all sprawl out on the floor. Cooper soon joins them; they all ask how he’s doing, and he admits that he’s living in a “nightmare.” His father won’t talk to him, he’s being “torn apart” online, and none of the teams scouting him will return his coach’s calls. The others express their sympathy, but Cooper insists they get down to business.
Cooper’s life is being dissected not just by his popular friends at his gossip-obsessed high school and not even just by the news media, but by the very institutions that stand to make or break his future. Cooper is dealing with something his friends can’t imagine, and yet he doesn’t want to center his individual pain above their collective struggle for the truth.
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Bronwyn leads the discussion, hoping they can all “compare notes” and get to the bottom of what’s actually happening to them. She points out that “somebody” planted phones on them to get them all in the same room; meanwhile, Simon was mixed up in “creepy stuff” on the internet and had potentially angered someone from there. Addy adds that Janae told her Simon “hated being an outsider,” and nursed an attraction to Keely. The others admit that Keely could be a common thread, but had no motive; Leah, and other students at school who’d been hurt by Simon’s rumors, had more serious reasons to want something bad to happen to him.
As the Bayview Four begin putting together the pieces of the puzzle which has consumed their lives, they search desperately for a common thread in their previously separate and distinct lives; they have trouble doing so, and instead wonder about whether anyone else might have had a motive to hurt or even kill Simon in order to stop his rumor-mongering.
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Bronwyn insists she’s more interested in Janae, who’s been spending time with her and Addy; the details in all the About This posts have been very accurate, so they have to have been written by someone who has access to each of them. Addy admits that Janae has been skittish lately, and didn’t seem very close with Simon right before he died. Bronwyn brings up the car accident again—Cooper remembers that one of the cars was a red Camaro, and offers to get Luis, whose brother works at a car repair place downtown, to look into it.
Bronwyn is afraid that Janae is infiltrating their new friend group and attempting to spy on them, but they all know she isn’t the only key to unraveling this puzzle; there are too many strange details, and they excitedly pounce upon each one and think of ways they can get to the bottom of what’s going on.
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Though the conversation isn’t really getting anywhere concrete, Nate notes, he is struck by two things while he and the other members of the Bayview Four talk; he really likes each of them, and knows for sure that none of them is responsible for Simon’s death.
Though Nate has been an outsider all his life, he finally has found a group of people that he likes and trusts.
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The narrative switches to Bronwyn’s perspective. On Friday night, she and her family are sitting down to watch Mikhail Powers Investigates; as the program begins, she is struck by Powers’ changed tone. He excoriates the police for “revealing personal information” about the Bayview Four, and taking their investigation “too far.” Mikhail Powers himself, Bronwyn knows, is gay, and was outed by the media when Bronwyn was still in junior high—she realizes that he now has a personal investment in the case, and is suddenly flipping his reportage around so that the Bayview Police are the incompetent, bumbling “bad guys.” Eli Klienfelter makes an appearance on the show and wonders aloud why no one is looking at “the teacher,” Mr. Avery.
As Mikhail Powers Investigates begins, the tide of the media coverage of the Bayview Four at last begins to turn. Mikhail Powers has finally realized how unfair, destructive, and dehumanizing the coverage of the “murder club” has been, and decides to use his platform to do something about it rather than continuing to deal in stereotypes and gossip.
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Most stunningly, Mikhail Powers airs interviews with students harmed by Simon’s posts—and then displays screen-grabs of the violent 4chan discussion threads to which Simon contributed; in one post, he urged school shooters to “surprise [him] when [they] take out a bunch of asshole lemmings.”
Mikhail Powers points out the obvious things that everyone is overlooking—that Simon himself had a shadowed past, and longed for retribution against his hated classmates.
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Over the next few days, Bronwyn notices how big an impact the most recent episode of Mikhail Powers Investigates has had on the investigation. The tone of the media coverage of the case shifts; someone starts an online petition on Change.org to drop the investigation; Major League Baseball and local colleges “get heat” online and in the press about whether they discriminate against gay players. By Monday, people are actually talking to Bronwyn again—even her onetime crush, Evan.
Finally, the fickle winds of change begin blowing the right way; as social media and the internet seizes upon the Bayview Four now that they’ve been cast in this new light, Bronwyn at last has some hope that her future won’t be consumed by this confusing, damaging scandal.
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Friday night, Bronwyn and Nate stay up late flirting on the phone. Saturday morning, Bronwyn lets herself stay in bed a little bit later than usual, and then gets ready for her morning run. As she’s lacing her shoes there is a knock on the door, and she turns around to see Maeve standing in the doorway looking pale and ill. Bronwyn worries that something is wrong with Maeve, but Maeve just beckons Bronwyn downstairs. In the living room, the TV is on; the screen shows Nate, in handcuffs, being led away from his house. On the bottom of the screen are the words “Arrest in the Simon Kelleher Murder Case.”
Just when things seemed to be going well, however, a terrifying and devastating break is made when Nate is arrested. All of the positive internet and media attention was the calm before the storm; things seem orchestrated to bring the members of the Bayview Four to their knees again and again.
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