One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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One of Us is Lying: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After the funeral, Addy is approached by a plainclothes officer who asks her to come to the police station. Addy asks if they can have their conversation at the church, but the officer insists on heading “around the corner” the station. Addy reluctantly follows Detective Wheeler to the station, and is led to the back into a small, stuffy room.
Nate isn’t alone in being dragged off by the police—even the popular, princess Addy has come under scrutiny. No one is safe in this investigation; everyone, no matter how seemingly innocuous, is a suspect.
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Wheeler begins the interrogation after explaining that Addy’s presence is voluntary, and she can leave at any time. The detective pulls a laptop out of her messenger bag and navigates to the admin panel Simon used to manage content for his About That app. Addy reads the post, which alleges that Bronwyn or “BR” stole tests from a teacher’s Google Drive in order to pass a class; Nate or “NM” has been dealing drugs again; Cooper or “CC” is using steroids to enhance his baseball performance; and Addy, or “AP,” took an “intimate detour” with TJ over the summer.
As everyone’s secrets are finally revealed, Addy understands that she is not the only one with a secret—and, by extension according to the police, a motivation for wanting Simon’s app and perhaps even Simon out of the picture.
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After reading the post, Addy feels like she can’t breathe, afraid that her whole life is about to come crashing down; Wheeler, though, assures her that the post is unpublished, and was merely in Simon’s post queue on the day he died. When Wheeler points out that the other four students mentioned in the post are the same four students who were in detention with Simon on the afternoon of his death, Addy admits it is a “weird coincidence.” Wheeler points out that the only four people in the room with Simon at the time he died all had a reason to want to “keep him quiet.”
Addy feels grateful that the post has not been made public—but she is not off the hook yet. The police know how important reputations and public perceptions are at Bayview, and understand that the students there would do almost anything to protect how others see them.
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Wheeler reveals her point: she tells Addy that if she was part of a group effort to kill and silence Simon, she does not share equal responsibility with whoever came up with the idea in the first place. Addy says she doesn’t understand; Wheeler points out that Addy lied about being in the nurse’s office earlier that day. Addy insists she just forgot, but privately thinks that if she is made to take a lie detector test, she’ll never pass.
Though it doesn’t seem like Addy is a killer, she certainly has something to hide—she admits to herself that there is more going on than meets the eye, but is not willing to share her innermost thoughts with the detective for fear of seeming guilty.
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As Wheeler goes on and on about how much pressure social media adds to kids’ lives, Addy remembers that she does not have to answer any questions or admit to anything. Addy stands up and says that she’s going to leave. Wheeler warns Addy that the help she can give her now “won’t be the same” if Addy leaves the room. Addy replies that she doesn’t need Wheeler’s help, and then goes. Outside, she sits on a bench, wondering what to do and who to call. Knowing she can’t talk to Jake, she dials Ashton, and tells her that she needs her help.
The detective is clearly trying to pressure Addy into divulging more information—but Addy, scared out of her wits, doesn’t have time for the detective’s speech about how hard things are for kids of Addy’s generation and how much “pressure” there is to conform and seem normal.
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The narrative switches to Cooper’s perspective; he has also been confronted by an officer, Detective Chang, who similarly shows him Simon’s unpublished About That post. When Cooper sees the allegations of his steroid use, his pulse slows down; it is “not what [he] expected” to be revealed about him. Chang takes the same approach with Cooper that Wheeler did with Addy, implying that the four worked together to bring Simon down. Cooper, though, denies everything; the idea is “so stupid it wouldn’t even make a good movie.”
Cooper is surprised and relieved by what the About That post says about him, showing that he clearly still has something he’s hiding. He is disdainful of the detective’s idea that the four worked together; in comparing the idea to a bad movie, Cooper shows that he realizes the detectives, too, are dealing in stereotypes and clichés.
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Chang brings up the dummy cell phones, and Cooper states that he still doesn’t know who was responsible for those or why. He suggests to the officer that maybe the four of them were framed, but Chang seems unconvinced; he tells Cooper that the “focus” of the investigation is unlikely to move away from the four of them. Cooper says he wants to call his father, and Chang gives him leave to do so; on the phone, Cooper’s father instructs him to come home and not to answer any more questions without a lawyer.
Despite all of the four students’ insistence that they were framed—or at least thrown together in order to appear more suspicious—none of the adults will listen, and instead impose their own theories, rather threateningly, on the kids.
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Detective Chang warns Cooper before he leaves that the other three are elsewhere in the building, talking to other officers; the one of them who agrees to “work with” the investigative team will be treated “very differently” from the others. Chang wants Cooper to “have that chance.” Cooper wants to tell the Detective that he’s got things wrong, but remembers his father instructing him not to say another word; he thanks Chang for his time, and leaves.
Chang tries to play to Cooper’s desire to be favored and exceptional by offering him if not immunity then at least special treatment, but Cooper knows that he hasn’t done anything wrong, and refuses to take the bait.
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