One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on One of Us is Lying can help.
Current Battle Ends 2/28
We'll make guides for February's winners by March 31st—guaranteed.
Current Battle Ends on 2/28/2021
Time Remaining

One of Us is Lying: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Saturday afternoon, Cooper finds himself feeling distracted during his baseball game. He gathers himself, focuses, and begins to pitch well—this is an invitation-only showcase game, and the stakes are high. After the game, a scout for the San Diego Padres approaches Cooper and tells him to keep up the good work. Right after leaving the stadium, Cooper’s father drives him and his teammate Luis over to Bayview High, where Simon’s memorial service is being held. Cooper wishes he didn’t have to go, but knows that since he was one of the last people to see Simon alive, it would look bad if he didn’t attend.
Cooper’s baseball career is blossoming, even as his life at school is thrown under more and more scrutiny. He longs to move on, but the grasp his high school—and all the drama that goes on there—have on him is undeniable, and he feels himself being pulled into situations against his will.
Themes
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Millennial Problems Theme Icon
On his way to find Keely and his friends, Cooper runs into Leah—a girl who tried to kill herself last year after Simon made a post about her sleeping around, which led to her being harassed for several months. Cooper is surprised to see Leah, and asks if she’s headed to the field for the service, but Leah remarks that Simon’s death is a “good riddance.” She asks Cooper and Luis if they’ve seen the latest About This blog update; when they admit they haven’t, she shows it to them on her phone. The post describes how the murderer regretted killing Simon by slipping peanut oil into his drink, but couldn’t stop the plan once it was put in motion—after all, they’d taken his epi-pen, and every spare one in the nurse’s office.
This passage shows that there are people other than Addy whose lives were emotionally or literally threatened by the existence of About That. In a whodunit novel like this, there are always new characters who are thrust into the light of suspicion; Leah, who openly hates Simon as a result of what he did to her, seems to be celebrating the idea that someone killed Simon and ended his reign over Bayview once and for all.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Millennial Problems Theme Icon
The post upsets Cooper; it seems to him like it was written by one of the students who was in the room at the time of Simon’s death. Cooper bids Leah goodbye and heads for the football field, but as Principal Gupta begins leading the memorial service, Cooper can barely think about Simon, and instead anxiously cycles between thoughts of the blog post, Leah, and the Padres scout.
Cooper is distressed by the idea that someone in detention with him is hiding something potentially dangerous. He wants to focus on his friends and his athletic accomplishments, but feels as if Simon’s death and everything surrounding it is taking over his life and his mind.
Themes
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Millennial Problems Theme Icon
Sunday afternoon, Nate has a home visit from his probation officer, Officer Lopez. She asks Nate how school’s going, and reminds him that he was lucky to get probation for a drug offense—keeping up with school and staying out of trouble is the only way to make sure that her reports to the judge keep Nate from having to go back to court. Lopez asks how Nate is doing as regards Simon’s death, and suggests he attend the funeral later in the afternoon. When Nate seems reluctant to go, Lopez tells him that he has no choice, and offers to accompany him.
Nate’s probation officer wants to keep him on the right track. She knows that on top of all the other stress he’s facing, Nate’s tangential relationship to Simon’s death threatens to derail his life even further; she realizes that as a kid with a bad reputation, Nate could potentially face the fall based on other’s perceptions of him alone.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Get the entire One of Us is Lying LitChart as a printable PDF.
One of Us is Lying PDF
Sitting in the pews with Officer Lopez, Nate can tell that the funeral service is swarming with undercover cops who are looking carefully at Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy—and Nate himself. Simon’s only friend, a weird Goth girl named Janae, reads part of the Walt Whitman poem Song of Myself, including the section that reads, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes).” When the service is over, the pallbearers carry Simon’s casket out the door, and then one of the plainclothes cops approaches Nate and asks to speak with him—alone.
The poem Janae reads at Simon’s funeral seems to point directly to one of the novel’s major themes; the idea that despite the stereotypes thrust on individuals, they often “contain multitudes” and “contradict [themselves]” frequently. Though Simon peddled in gossip and stereotypes, his friend Janae seems to want to either apologize to the rest of the student body on his behalf—or make the case that there was more to Simon, too, than there seemed to be.
Themes
Stereotypes and Unlikely Connections Theme Icon
Gossip, Secrets, and Lies Theme Icon
Wisdom of the Youth Theme Icon
Millennial Problems Theme Icon