One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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Cooper Clay Character Analysis

The “jock” of the Bayview Four, Cooper is a popular athlete who seems destined for greatness as a baseball player. Originally from Mississippi, Cooper is incredibly close with his tight-knit family and intensely focused on his athletic career. Cooper is kind, pure, and well-intentioned, but desperate to keep the truth about himself—the fact that he is gay and in a closeted relationship with a male underwear model—under wraps for as long as possible in order to continue impressing his conservative family and the baseball scouts who are pounding down his door to offer him scholarships. Cooper is eventually outed when an encrypted About This post comes to light. This traumatic ordeal threatens his social life, his friendships, and his career, but ultimately results in more sympathetic media coverage not just of Cooper but of all of the Bayview Four, who have been hounded by the press and the authorities alike since day one despite a lack of hard evidence tying them to Simon’s death. Cooper is a force for good and truth throughout the novel from that point on, and recognizes the importance of living an authentic, open life no matter the cost.

Cooper Clay Quotes in One of Us is Lying

The One of Us is Lying quotes below are all either spoken by Cooper Clay or refer to Cooper Clay. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of One of Us is Lying published in 2017.
Chapter 16 Quotes

Four days after we're featured on the local news, the story goes national on Mikhail Powers Investigates. I knew it was coming, since Mikhail’s producers had tried to reach my family all week. We never responded, thanks to basic common sense and also Robin’s legal advice. Nate didn’t either, and Addy said she and Cooper both refused to talk as well. So the show will be airing in fifteen minutes without commentary from any of the people actually involved. Unless one of us is lying. Which is always a possibility.

Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

Sexism is alive and well in true-crime coverage, because Bronwyn and I aren’t nearly as popular with the general public as Cooper and Nate. Especially Nate. All the tween girls posting about us on social media love him. They couldn’t care less that het a convicted drug dealer, because he’s got dreamy eyes.

Same goes for school. Bronwyn and I are pariahs—other than her friends, her sister, and Janae, hardly anyone talks to us. They just whisper behind our backs. But Cooper's as golden as ever. And Nate—well, it’s not like Nate was ever popular, exactly. He’s never seemed to care what people think, though, and he still doesn’t.

Related Characters: Addy Prentiss (speaker), Bronwyn Rojas, Nate Macauley, Cooper Clay, Janae
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

I sit with Mary in the interrogation room after Detective Chang leaves, thankful there’s no two-way mirror as I bury my head in my hands. Life as I knew it is over, and pretty soon nobody will look at me the same way. I was going to tell eventually, but in a few years, maybe? When I was a star pitcher and untouchable. Not now. Not like this.

"Cooper." Mary puts a hand on my shoulder. "Your father will be wondering why we're still in here. You need to talk to him."

"I can't," I say automatically. Cain't.

"Your father loves you," she says quietly.

I almost laugh… He loves when I strike out the side and get attention from flashy scouts, and when my name scrolls across the bottom of ESPN. But me?

He doesn’t even know me.

Related Characters: Cooper Clay (speaker), Mary
Page Number: 251-252
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

[Nate] crosses to our table and dumps his backpack next to Bronwyn. She stands up, winds her arms around his neck, and kisses him like they're alone while the entire cafeteria erupts into gasps and catcalls. I stare as much as everyone else. I mean, I kind of guessed, but this is pretty public. I'm not sure if Bronwyn’s trying to distract everyone from Cooper or if she couldn’t help herself. Maybe both.

Either way, Cooper's effectively been forgotten. He's motionless at the entrance until I grab his arm. "Come sit. The whole murder club at one table. They can stare at all of us together."

Related Characters: Addy Prentiss (speaker), Bronwyn Rojas, Nate Macauley, Cooper Clay
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

We're not getting anywhere with this conversation. But I'm struck by a couple of things as I listen to them talk. One: I like all of them more than I thought I would. Bronwyn’s obviously been the biggest surprise, and like doesn't cover it. But Addy's turned into kind of a badass, and Cooper's not as one- dimensional as I thought.

And two: I don’t think any of them did it.

Related Characters: Nate Macauley (speaker), Bronwyn Rojas, Cooper Clay, Addy Prentiss
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

"Let's go back to what we know," Bronwyn says. Her voice is almost clinical, but her face is flushed brick red. “Simon was one of those people who thought he should be at the center of everything, but wasn’t. And he was obsessed with the idea of making some kind of huge, violent splash at school. He fantasized about it all the time on those 4chan threads. What if this was his version of a school shooting? Kill himself and take a bunch of students down with him, but in an unexpected way. Like framing them for murder." She turns to her sister. "What did Simon say on 4chan, Maeve? Do something original. Surprise me when you take out a bunch of lemming assholes."

Related Characters: Bronwyn Rojas (speaker), Cooper Clay (speaker), Simon Kelleher, Maeve Rojas
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:
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One of Us is Lying PDF

Cooper Clay Character Timeline in One of Us is Lying

The timeline below shows where the character Cooper Clay appears in One of Us is Lying. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Nate Macauley, a drug dealer and troublemaker, taunts Bronwyn for getting detention. Cooper Clay, a jock, tosses a piece of paper his friend, a popular girl named Addy... (full context)
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Addy turns around, shocked; a dummy phone was in her bag, too. Cooper speaks up to say that the same thing happened to him. Simon laments that someone... (full context)
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The narrative switches to Cooper’s perspective. His hand cramps as he writes his essay—he can’t remember the last time he... (full context)
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Bronwyn, Addy, and Cooper go over to the window as well. After a moment, Simon joins them. They all... (full context)
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Simon takes a drink of water and then frowns, saying the water tastes like crap. Cooper thinks Simon is being dramatic—but then Simon drops his cup and falls to the floor,... (full context)
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Mr. Avery, Bronwyn, and two other teachers rush into the room, and Mr. Avery sends Cooper down the hall to the nurse’s office to look for an epi-pen. Cooper runs to... (full context)
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Cooper rushes back to Mr. Avery’s room and finds that the paramedics have arrived. Three of... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...her boyfriend, Jake. When he answers, though, she begins crying too hard to talk, and Cooper takes over the phone call. He tells Jake to meet him and Addy outside—something has... (full context)
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Addy, still crying, shouts that she wants to go home. Ms. Grayson tells Cooper to help Addy home, and the two of them leave. Addy is grateful for Cooper’s... (full context)
Chapter 3
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The narrative jumps forward two days, to Thursday, and switches to Cooper’s point of view. In between classes, an announcement over the loudspeaker at school summons Cooper—along... (full context)
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Cooper joins Gupta, Addy, Bronwyn, Nate, and a police officer in Gupta’s office. The policeman introduces... (full context)
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...Officer Budapest asks if the other three ever worried about ending up on Simon’s app. Cooper speaks up and says that he wasn’t, but his voice doesn’t sound very confident. He... (full context)
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That night at dinner, Cooper’s family sit down to eat and all begin talking about Simon’s death. Cooper’s little brother... (full context)
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As Cooper’s family cleans up after dinner, the doorbell rings—Cooper’s girlfriend, Keely, is at the door, even... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...few friends, and though he had a few attempts at romance—one of which involved Keely, Cooper’s girlfriend—he was unattached when he died. Addy thinks Simon and Bronwyn could have been a... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Saturday afternoon, Cooper finds himself feeling distracted during his baseball game. He gathers himself, focuses, and begins to... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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The post upsets Cooper; it seems to him like it was written by one of the students who was... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Detective Chang warns Cooper before he leaves that the other three are elsewhere in the building, talking to other... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...the whole thing isn’t being pinned on just him, as he feels that Addy and Cooper would be all too happy to go along with using Nate as a scapegoat. Nate... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...tells Jake that she has had a “scary day,” and that the detectives think Addy, Cooper, Nate, and Bronwyn murdered Simon. She tells him about the motive—the About That post detailing... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The narrative switches over to Cooper’s point of view. Even though the atmosphere at school is tense, it’s nowhere near as... (full context)
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Keely asks Cooper if she can look at a picture on his phone and show it to one... (full context)
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After the last bell, Cooper is about to head home, but his coach corners him in the hallway, wanting to... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...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... (full context)
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Gupta leaves Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate in her office—it is the first time the four of them have... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Friday afternoon, Cooper visits Nonny in the hospital. She has had a heart attack, but a minor one,... (full context)
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Nonny asks how things are with Keely, and Cooper replies that she’s been acting clingy. Nonny tells him that if Keely’s not the one,... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Addy and Ashton rent bicycles and go out for an afternoon of cycling. Cooper texts Addy to ask if she’s attending a big party tonight, but Addy says she... (full context)
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Saturday night, Cooper arrives at his friend Olivia’s party to find that things have already gotten messy—people are... (full context)
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Cooper’s friend Luis comes over and hands him a beer. He asks if Cooper is going... (full context)
Chapter 15
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The narrative switches to Addy’s perspective, and jumps ahead to Tuesday morning. She and Cooper were not as lucky as Nate and Bronwyn when it came to dodging the cameras,... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...“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... (full context)
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Saturday afternoon, Cooper goes over to Keely’s house to break up with her. She tries to get him... (full context)
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Keely asks Cooper if he’s breaking up with her because she hooked up with Nate just a few... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...in the media coverage of the Bayview Four—meanwhile, everyone on the internet is swooning over Cooper and Nate, and the boys aren’t being ostracized at school, either. During lunch, Addy scrolls... (full context)
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...Simon. She has gotten to know Addy better, and doesn’t think she seems capable of violence—Cooper doesn’t, either. Nate points out that anyone could be capable of anything; the two jokingly... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...mother, her lawyer Robin, and Detective Mendoza are seated at a table. Neither Addy nor Cooper is there, and Bronwyn feels a flash of anxiety as she realizes investigators are focusing... (full context)
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Monday afternoon, Cooper laments that his life has become a media circus. News vans are outside his house... (full context)
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Cooper heads out to meet Luis at the gym, and is surprised and miffed when a... (full context)
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Cooper, high on the feeling of freedom, heads to downtown San Diego and parks in front... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Tuesday evening, Cooper is eating dinner with his family. When his father asks him what he did with... (full context)
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Cooper’s father reminds him that he has to go in for steroid testing tomorrow—ever since Simon’s... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Cooper comes over to say hello, and Bronwyn jokingly asks if Cooper has given Mikhail Powers... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Sunday evening, Cooper’s father’s phone rings; he takes the call, and afterwards informs Cooper that Detective Chang wants... (full context)
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After dinner, Cooper and his father go to the station, where Cooper’s lawyer Mary and Detective Chang beckon... (full context)
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Detective Chang asks Cooper if the rumor is true, but Mary insists he doesn’t need to answer. Chang points... (full context)
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Though Mary claims that disclosing information about sexual orientation violates Cooper’s rights to privacy, Chang insists that Cooper reveal everything he knows about the entry. Cooper... (full context)
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Mary urges Cooper to tell his father the truth—he will still love Cooper, she says. Cooper privately thinks... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...morning, Addy arrives at school to find police cars lining the front of Bayview High. Cooper, who looks as if he hasn’t slept for days, pulls Addy aside before homeroom and... (full context)
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Cooper tells Addy that Simon had uncovered the fact that he was seeing someone and was... (full context)
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Cooper adds that he can’t stop thinking about all the “weird stuff” Maeve mentioned Simon had... (full context)
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...liaison and begin interviewing students. By the middle of the morning on Tuesday, “whispers” about Cooper’s sexuality have started. That afternoon at lunch, Addy sits down with Bronwyn; when Cooper enters... (full context)
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...kisses Bronwyn in full view of everyone; the cafeteria erupts in catcalls and shouts, and Cooper is momentarily forgotten. Addy runs up to the doorway and grabs Cooper by the arm,... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...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... (full context)
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...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,... (full context)
Chapter 25
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The narrative switches over to Cooper’s perspective. Saturday afternoon, Cooper has just finished playing an exhibition game—he did well, and a... (full context)
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As Cooper and Luis head to the car after the game, Cooper dodges questions from reporters, as... (full context)
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After Cooper and his dad drop Luis off at his house, they are alone in the car.... (full context)
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Inside, Cooper’s father turns on the TV while Cooper talks to his Nonny in the kitchen. She... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...stands to go—but worries that if Eli doesn’t know even half of what she, Addy, Cooper, and Nate do, he won’t be able to help Nate clear his name. (full context)
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...She asks Addy to stop by later tonight to help her out with something—she’s inviting Cooper, too. Addy quickly agrees to meet up; she heads out as fast as she can,... (full context)
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Inside, Maeve is on her laptop and Cooper is sprawled out in an armchair. Addy asks Bronwyn if she’s seen Nate, but Bronwyn... (full context)
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...blog on her laptop and they all begin reading. When they reach a certain post, Cooper points to a line which he says “never happened”—a post dated October twentieth states that... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...After she texted Mrs. Macauley a link to the About This post she, Addy, and Cooper had flagged as odd—and the fact that Jake, of all people, seems to be involved... (full context)
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...colorful sticky notes on the wall, pointing out the many disparate details of the case. Cooper arrives to help—he can’t stay long, but wanted to tell everyone that Luis’s brother may... (full context)
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Cooper leaves, and Maeve gets up to shuffle the sticky notes around. She groups together the... (full context)
Chapter 28
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Wednesday night, Cooper and the rest of the “murder club” are at a coffee shop in downtown San... (full context)
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...with Janae, he had a thing for Keely, and used to be friends with Jake. Cooper adds that Simon deleted Cooper’s original About That post, but Bronwyn corrects him, stating that... (full context)
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...school shooting.” Kris speaks up again—if Jake wasn’t Simon’s killer, he must be his accomplice. Cooper marvels at Kris and Bronwyn, the “brains of this operation.” (full context)
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After Bronwyn and Maeve leave, Kris and Cooper finish their drinks and gather up their things to leave. Outside the coffee shop, Cooper... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...avoiding her texts and calls. Addy has finally decided just to show up at Janae’s house—Cooper has offered to drive her and wait in the car, just in case things “turn... (full context)
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...he was angry with Nate for secretly hooking up with Keely; he was angry with Cooper after Cooper had him blacklisted from his clique’s after-prom party. Simon originally planned only those... (full context)
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...on Nate—it was easy, because he never keeps anything locked. When Addy asks about why Cooper’s entry was changed, Janae reveals that Jake made Simon change it, purportedly to spare Cooper’s... (full context)
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...like “business as usual.” As Jake and Janae argue, Addy’s phone beeps—a text message from Cooper has come in. (full context)
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...fury in his eyes, and wonders how she didn’t see this coming. Suddenly, Jake flies backwards—Cooper has come to Addy’s rescue. He folds Addy into his arms and she relaxes as... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...media as Nate contemplates everything Eli told him back inside—about how Bronwyn, Kris, Addy, and Cooper all worked together to clear Nate’s name. Nate feels useless and dejected as he, Eli,... (full context)
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Saturday morning, Cooper goes downstairs for breakfast to find Nonny reading an issue of a gossip magazine with... (full context)
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...out of. Though this is some kind of “poetic justice,” it doesn’t feel right to Cooper, who mourns the fact that one of his best friends turned out to be such... (full context)
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Cooper’s father comes into the kitchen and begins talking to him about baseball. Cooper has received... (full context)
Epilogue: Three Months Later
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...she and Maeve prepare to leave, and texts last-minute directions to Kate, Yumiko, Addy, and Cooper—who is coming to the concert after dinner with Kris’s parents. As she heads out the... (full context)