One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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Simon Kelleher Character Analysis

The self-proclaimed “omniscient narrator” of Bayview High’s rumor mill, Simon Kelleher runs a ubiquitous but reviled gossip app called About That which aggregates the juiciest gossip on campus. Though Simon’s reports are daily, they are almost never inaccurate. He uses his fellow students’ initials so as to avoid being accused outright of libel or harassment, but because the school community is so tight-knit, it’s always obvious who the gossip is about. Simon is dead by the end of the first chapter after supposedly suffering an allergic reaction while being held in detention for having a cell phone in his bag during Mr. Avery’s class. The four students who were in detention with him—Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate—are immediately singled out as suspects. As the novel progresses, the “Bayview Four” struggle individually and ultimately collectively to prove their innocence, weaving together the many disparate threads of Simon’s story until they uncover the truth: the depressed Simon, who hated his life and everything in it, decided to kill himself and vengefully frame four more popular, more intelligent, more successful students for his murder. Simon had been spending a lot of time working his way down dark wormholes on the internet, and longed to create an event that would have an impact of a mass-shooting but signal originality and inspire imitators for years to come. Simon plotted with his close friend Janae and Addy’s boyfriend, Jake—who wanted revenge against Addy for cheating on him—to orchestrate strategic information drops on a new gossip blog, About This, and a year from the date of his death release his manifesto revealing his grand plan. Simon’s dark apathy, desire for acknowledgement, and sense of “aggrieved entitlement” to popularity and success ties makes him an important character despite his physical absence from most of the book.

Simon Kelleher Quotes in One of Us is Lying

The One of Us is Lying quotes below are all either spoken by Simon Kelleher or refer to Simon Kelleher. 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 1 Quotes

A sex tape. A pregnancy scare. Two cheating scandals. And that's just this week’s update. If all you knew of Bayview High was Simon Kelleher's gossip app, you'd wonder how anyone found time to go to class.

"Old news, Bronwyn," says a voice over my shoulder. "'Wait till you see tomorrow's post."

Damn. I hate getting caught reading About That, especially by its creator. I lower my phone and slam my locker shut. "Whose lives are you ruining next, Simon?"

Simon falls into step beside me as I move against the flow of students heading for the exit. "It’s a public service," he says with a dismissive wave. […] “Anyway, they bring it on themselves. If people didn’t lie and cheat, I’d be out of business.”

Related Characters: Simon Kelleher (speaker), Bronwyn Rojas (speaker)
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

The phone almost slips out of my hand. Another text from Chad Posner came through while I was reading. People r fucked up.

I text back, Where’d you get this?

Posner writes some rando emailed a link, with the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emoji. He thinks it’s somebody’s idea of a sick joke. Which is what most people would think, if they hadn’t spent an hour with a police officer asking ten different ways how peanut oil got into Simon Kelleher's cup. Along with three other people who looked guilty as hell.

None of them have as much experience as I do keeping a straight face when shit's falling apart around them. At least, none of them are as good at it as me.

Related Characters: Nate Macauley (speaker), Simon Kelleher
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

Maeve and I are sprawled on my bed watching the minutes on my alarm clock tick by until my debut as a national disgrace. Or rather, I am, and she’s combing through the 4chan links she found through Simon’s admin site.

"Check this out," she says, angling her laptop toward me.

The long discussion thread covers a school shooting that happened last spring a few counties over. A sophomore boy concealed a handgun in his jacket and opened fire in the hallway after the first bell. Seven students and a teacher died before the boy turned the gun on himself, I have to read a few of the comments more than once before I realize the thread isn’t condemning the boy, but celebrating him. It’s a bunch of sickos cheering on what he did.

"Maeve." I burrow my head in my arms, not wanting to read any more. "What the hell is this?"

"Some forum Simon was all over a few months back."

I raise my head to stare at her. " Simon posted there? How do you know?"

"He used that AnarchiSK name from About That," Maeve replies.

Related Characters: Bronwyn Rojas (speaker), Maeve Rojas (speaker), Simon Kelleher
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

“I'm getting what I deserve, right? That’s what everybody thinks. I guess it's what Simon would’ve wanted. Everything out in the open for people to judge. No secrets."

"Simon . . ." Janae’s got that strangled sound to her voice again. "He’s not . . . He wasn’t like they said. I mean, yes, he went overboard with About That, and he wrote some awful things. But the past couple years have been rough. He tried so hard to be part of things and he never could. I don’t think . . ." She stumbles over her words. "When Simon was himself, he wouldn’t have wanted this for you."

Related Characters: Addy Prentiss (speaker), Janae (speaker), Simon Kelleher
Page Number: 243
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

Maeve's hand finds mine as Mikhail drops his last bombshell—a screen capture of the 4chan discussion threads, with Simon’s worst posts about the Orange County school shooting highlighted:

Look, I support the notion of violently disrupting schools in theory, but this kid showed a depressing lack of imagination. I mean, it was fine, I guess. It got the job done. But it was so prosaic, Haven't we seen this a hundred times now? Kid shoots up school, shoots up sell film at eleven. Raise the stakes, for God's sake. Do something original.

A grenade, maybe. Samurai swords? Surprise me when you take out a bunch of asshole lemmings. That's all I'm asking.

Related Characters: Bronwyn Rojas (speaker), Simon Kelleher, Maeve Rojas, Mikhail Powers
Page Number: 271
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:
Chapter 29 Quotes

I look up from the papers. "Why?" I ask, bile rising in my throat. "How did Simon get to this point?"

"He'd been depressed for a while," Janae says, kneading the fabric of her black skirt between her hands. The stacks of studded bracelets she wears on both arms rattle with the movement. "Simon always felt like he should get a lot more respect and attention than he did, you know? But he got really bitter about it this year. He started spending all his time online with a bunch of creepers, fantasizing about getting revenge on everyone who made him miserable. It got to the point where I don’t think he even knew what was real anymore. Whenever something bad happened, he blew it way out of proportion."

Related Characters: Addy Prentiss (speaker), Janae (speaker), Simon Kelleher
Page Number: 322
Explanation and Analysis:

I'm barely dragging myself forward, and the noises behind me get louder until a hand catches my arm and yanks me back. I manage to scream once more before Jake clamps his other hand over my mouth.

"You little bitch," he says hoarsely. "You brought this on yourself, you know that?"

Related Characters: Addy Prentiss (speaker), Jake Riordan (speaker), Simon Kelleher
Page Number: 330
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue: Three Months Later Quotes

I think a lot about Simon and about what the media called his "aggrieved entitlement”—the belief he was owed something he didn’t get, and everyone should pay because of it. It's almost impossible to understand, except by that corner of my brain that pushed me to cheat for validation I hadn't earned. I don’t ever want to be that person again.

Related Characters: Bronwyn Rojas (speaker), Simon Kelleher
Page Number: 349
Explanation and Analysis:
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One of Us is Lying PDF

Simon Kelleher Character Timeline in One of Us is Lying

The timeline below shows where the character Simon Kelleher 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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...app featuring all the rumors and drama swirling through her Southern California school, Bayview High. Simon Kelleher, the creator of the app, comes up behind her at her locker and tells... (full context)
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...a local coffee shop. Bronwyn isn’t going to make the meeting, though—today, she has detention. Simon does, too, and is shocked to learn that he and Bronwyn are heading down the... (full context)
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...her bag, too. Cooper speaks up to say that the same thing happened to him. Simon laments that someone has “punked” them all, and wonders why someone would want to trap... (full context)
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Simon reaches for his backpack and digs around inside, complaining that he can’t find his water... (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 stare outside: two cars, a red one and a gray one,... (full context)
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Simon takes a drink of water and then frowns, saying the water tastes like crap. Cooper... (full context)
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...arrived. Three of them bring a stretcher into the room; one of the paramedics stabs Simon with a syringe while the other two lift him up onto the stretcher. Addy is... (full context)
Chapter 2
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...group is free to go. Ms. Grayson supposes they are; she asks the students if Simon ate anything with peanuts in it before the attack, as he’s allergic to them, but... (full context)
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...Nate doesn’t want to talk about his mother, though, and redirects the conversation back to Simon’s collapse. Bronwyn expresses amazement and admiration at how fast Nate came to Simon’s aid, and... (full context)
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...and answers it—the call upsets her, and when she hangs up, she informs Nate that Simon is dead. (full context)
Chapter 3
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...as Bronwyn sits down in homeroom, she is still having trouble absorbing the fact that Simon is dead. As the bell rings, her homeroom teacher stands up in front of the... (full context)
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Mrs. Park tells the class that there will be a memorial service for Simon on Saturday, after a football game, and the faculty will keep students informed as to... (full context)
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...the main office. He already answered several questions from Principal Gupta about the afternoon of Simon’s death a few days ago, but supposes she wants to do “another round.” (full context)
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...Gupta’s office. The policeman introduces himself as Officer Budapest, and then tells the group that Simon’s autopsy results have come back—and indicate that he ingested a large amount of peanut oil... (full context)
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Addy remembers Simon saying something about the cell phones that had wound up in all their bags, the... (full context)
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The officer asks if any of the students ever had trouble with Simon or his gossip app—Nate was the only one of them ever featured on the app,... (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 wants to hear all the gory details, but their grandmother, Nonny,... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...Addy knows Jake has arrived. While he talks with Addy’s mother downstairs, Addy thinks about Simon. He had few friends, and though he had a few attempts at romance—one of which... (full context)
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Addy and Jake lie down on the bed together; Jake tells Addy that Simon’s mother called him and asked if he would be a pallbearer at Simon’s funeral on... (full context)
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...headlined “About This.” The blog post, written anonymously, details a mysterious individual’s motivation for killing Simon Kelleher—someone “everybody want[ed] dead.” Chad thinks the blog is a “sick joke,” but Nate, who... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...out all day. Budapest says he has a specific question for Addy. The day of Simon’s death, she was in the nurse’s office earlier that afternoon, according to the log. At... (full context)
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...the police are looking into why there were no epi-pens in the nurse’s office during Simon’s attack. The nurse has said that there were pens in the office that morning, but... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...Bronwyn now looks like she has a motive. She insists she didn’t do anything to Simon, but her mother says that if it comes out that Simon was telling the truth,... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...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 all four students’ secrets. Addy... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...school.” She tells Bronwyn that the investigators probably don’t think she and her classmates murdered Simon—they just wanted to shock and pressure them into revealing useful information. Robin advises Bronwyn to... (full context)
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...class, Cooper witnesses Jake punching TJ in the face; Cooper realizes that the part of Simon’s About That column concerning Addy must be true. At lunch, Addy sits with Cooper, Keely,... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...“Did you do it?” Knowing she is referring both to the About That post and Simon’s murder, he replies, “Yes and no.” Bronwyn admits the same—she is guilty of the rumor... (full context)
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...day, she spots the only person on campus who looks worse than she does: Janae, Simon’s Goth friend, who has crying ever since Simon died and looks to have lost a... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...Maeve shows Bronwyn her phone. Someone has made another blog post to About This, featuring Simon’s final About That post—the post revealing all four of the detention group’s secrets. At the... (full context)
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...speculate that far more students than just the four of them had motive to kill Simon—he had been leaking people’s secrets and ruining people’s lives for years. When Principal Gupta returns,... (full context)
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...a movie tonight, Bronwyn confesses that she wishes she could remember more about the day Simon died; she is distressed that the police have barely paid any attention to the matter... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...feeling like her old self again. She asks him to fill her in on the Simon Kelleher situation, and he tells her everything about the “mess” that has unfolded at school.... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...to know why Addy lied about being in the nurse’s office on the day of Simon’s death. Addy reveals that she didn’t go to the nurse’s office for herself—she went to... (full context)
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...the fourth floor using one of the library’s computers to access the admin panel for Simon’s original About That app—she is using a public computer to avoid being traced. She has... (full context)
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...Luis comes over and hands him a beer. He asks if Cooper is going to Simon’s house tomorrow; Cooper is confused, and Luis explains that Simon’s mother asked several students to... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...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... (full context)
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...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. (full context)
Chapter 17
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...She didn’t tell him anything about herself, but got him to agree to look into Simon’s strange internet presence more. Kleinfelter also mentioned that the timing of the car accident during... (full context)
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...doesn’t buy Eli’s theories, but Bronwyn really doesn’t believe that anyone in the room murdered Simon. She has gotten to know Addy better, and doesn’t think she seems capable of violence—Cooper... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...investigators are focusing just on her. The detective asks Bronwyn if she is aware that Simon had a “companion website” for About That, where he collected longer posts. Robin tells the... (full context)
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...accomplish by bringing it into the mix. The detective asks Bronwyn directly if she resented Simon because of his revelation of Maeve’s embarrassment at the party, and her reluctance to participate... (full context)
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...of the detectives eating doughnuts. Addy says that the detectives should really be looking at Simon himself, and the many others who wanted bad things to happen to him as a... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...parents are already furious with her and have grounded her for not telling them about Simon’s blog post. Nevertheless, when she receives a text from Nate telling her he’s waiting outside,... (full context)
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...her about anything else—he really has stopped dealing drugs, and really didn’t do anything to Simon. Bronwyn believes Nate, and asks him to tell him about her mother. They talk for... (full context)
Chapter 20
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Cooper’s father reminds him that he has to go in for steroid testing tomorrow—ever since Simon’s posthumous post, Cooper has had to get tested every week, despite the fact that he’s... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Maeve begins typing furiously on her phone, and tells Bronwyn that she’s sending Simon’s 4chan threads to Mikhail Powers’s team. She has been reading the threads for days, and... (full context)
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Addy muses that she’s getting what she deserves, just like Simon wanted—everyone’s secrets are out in the open. Janae quietly says that though Simon went overboard... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...it around to face Cooper—he reveals that they “missed something” in their initial analysis of Simon’s files, and have recovered a second encrypted entry for Cooper. Cooper and his lawyer lean... (full context)
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...of the file being replaced with a false rumor, it appears as if someone accessed Simon’s files, tampered with the last entry, and then “made sure” that Simon wouldn’t be around... (full context)
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...reveal everything he knows about the entry. Cooper knows they want him to confess to Simon’s murder, even though Cooper’s killing Simon makes no logical sense. Cooper knows that even if... (full context)
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...house, Cooper tells his mother, his father, and his Nonny the truth by revealing what Simon was actually going to post about him. Cooper’s father insists it has to be a... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Cooper tells Addy that Simon had uncovered the fact that he was seeing someone and was going to post about... (full context)
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Cooper adds that he can’t stop thinking about all the “weird stuff” Maeve mentioned Simon had gotten into—Addy says that Bronwyn wants for all of the Bayview Four to get... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...likes each of them, and knows for sure that none of them is responsible for Simon’s death. (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...his lock to check it out, they found no drugs—but did find a bag containing Simon’s water bottle, epi-pen, and all of the missing epi-pens from the nurse’s office. Bronwyn knows... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...the sticky notes around. She groups together the notes bearing information about people who “hate” Simon, but as the girls stare at the names and facts on the wall, they all... (full context)
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...asks if that’s who paid him; Sam gravely replies that he was paid off by Simon Kelleher himself. (full context)
Chapter 28
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Bronwyn lays out a folder containing information about Simon—he was depressed, he paid two kids to stage an accident, he had a “creepy online... (full context)
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...would be pretty much impossible for anyone who wasn’t in the room to have killed Simon. If none of the Bayview Four or Mr. Avery did it, that only leaves Simon... (full context)
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Bronwyn follows this line of thought—Simon wanted to be at the center of everything, but was hugely unpopular. He was “obsessed”... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...could really be responsible for it. She remembers an odd detail from the day of Simon’s murder—Jake offered to carry her backpack to class for her, though he’d never done something... (full context)
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...room sofa, and Addy holds Janae while she cries. After a while, Addy asks whether Simon “did this to himself”; Janae, shocked, asks how Addy figured it out. Though Addy isn’t... (full context)
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...but Janae returns with a sheaf of papers; she hands them to Addy, calling them “Simon’s manifesto”; the papers are supposed to be sent to police a year from now, “after... (full context)
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The manifesto, written by Simon, reveals how much he hated his life, and how desperate he was to “get the... (full context)
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Addy looks up from the papers, shocked, and asks Janae how Simon reached this point. Janae reveals that Simon was depressed for a while—he always thought he... (full context)
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Janae reveals that Simon was angry at Bronwyn for cheating her way to valedictorian, an honor that would have... (full context)
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Janae reveals that Simon and Jake were excited about working together because no one would ever realize what they... (full context)
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...locked. When Addy asks about why Cooper’s entry was changed, Janae reveals that Jake made Simon change it, purportedly to spare Cooper’s reputation. Janae thinks, though, that Jake did that more... (full context)
Epilogue: Three Months Later
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...her future. Bronwyn still thinks a lot about the ordeal she’s been through, and about Simon, too—she wonders about his belief that he was owed something he didn’t get. Though she... (full context)