Makani and Ollie talk on the phone for hours. She’s relieved that he hasn’t found out about her past. Ollie tells Makani about his parents, who were farmers, and the strained but loving relationship he has with his brother Chris. Makani talks about the similar relationship she has with Grandma Young. She asks why Ollie’s grandparents didn’t take him in after his parents’ deaths. Ollie explains that half of his grandparents are dead, while the other half are alcoholics. Given that their parents were killed by a drunk driver, Ollie explains, it’s no wonder why Chris insisted on taking care of his kid brother.
Makani and Ollie engage in direct, frank communication, and they grow closer as a result. While rumors about Ollie caused Makani to cast doubt on Ollie and his feelings for her, interacting with Ollie honestly and personally does the opposite. Once more, the book suggests that direct communication can counteract the negative consequences of spreading gossip and making assumptions about people.
Ollie asks how Makani’s mother ended up in Hawaii. Makani explains that her mother left Nebraska the day after graduation with plans to travel to all 50 states before picking a new home. She went to Hawaii, met Makani’s father, and never left. Ollie thinks maybe he needs to make a big plan, too. He notes that he “always follow[s] through with [his] plans.”
Makani’s mother’s failure to reinvent herself and make a happier life in Hawaii suggests that running away from one’s problems does little to make those problems go away—in the end, a person’s problems follow them wherever they go. Ollie’s remark about “always follow[ing] through with [his] plans” is kind of odd and out of place. What kind of plans is he talking about? Note that readers still have no clue who the person who killed Haley Whitehall. Could Alex’s absurd rumor that Ollie is the killer be true?
At school the next day, Makani sits with Alex and Darby in Darby’s car and talk about the new developments with Ollie. But Makani’s friends aren’t taking the relationship as seriously as Makani wants them to. Alex and Darby both think it was creepy how Ollie got Makani’s number and flatly refuse to see it as a romantic gesture. Makani looks out the window and waits for Ollie’s car to appear. There’s a makeshift memorial for Haley in the corner of the lot where students have placed old playbills and candles. Makani changes the subject to express concern about Grandma Young, who has been sleepwalking again. She’s recently left the kitchen cabinets open multiple nights in a row. She needs to go to the sleep clinic, but Makani doesn’t know how to tell her.
Makani feels alienated from her friends when they refuse to see her rekindled romance with Ollie as a positive, sweet thing. The makeshift memorial for Haley physically embodies the human need to grieve and work through traumatic events. The suddenness and violence of Haley’s death leaves students who didn’t even know her reeling in confusion, and desperate to make sense of the horror of her murder. Finally, this is the second time Makani has thought about the seemingly innocuous detail of Grandma Young leaving the cabinets open, so it’s a detail that’s worth paying attention to.
A sudden knock on the window makes everyone shriek, but it’s only Ollie. They let him in. Everyone stares, and Ollie starts to blush. For the first time, Makani realizes that Ollie’s loner personality isn’t an act of rebellion—it’s an attempt to hide his shyness. She softens and tells Ollie she’s glad to see him. Darby, a kind and thoughtful person, agrees. Alex tells Ollie he should bring doughnuts next time.
This scene is another nod to typical genre conventions of the teen slasher film—it’s something of a “jump scare” when Ollie appears beside the car without notice, catching everyone off-guard, but it’s ultimately a fake-out, since Ollie poses no threat to Makani and her friends—at least, not obviously. On the other hand, could this be another hint that Ollie is actually more nefarious than he seems? After all, Makani still doesn’t know much about Ollie, beyond what rumors say about him and what she was able to glean from her phone call last night.
After the air settles, Alex gets down to business. She asks Ollie about Haley’s murder, assuming he must know more than the others because his brother is a police officer. Ollie explains that his brother doesn’t discuss work with him, but Alex won’t back off. Ollie finally relents. Cautiously, he explains that the murder occurred in the sheriff’s jurisdiction. However, because Haley’s father is friends with Chief Pilger, the whole department was at the scene of the crime only an hour later. Makani cringes at Alex’s tastelessness as she asks if the rumors about the smiley face slashes are true. Ollie confirms that the smiley face rumor is true. Darby and Makani are both torn between curiosity and shame over their fixation on the murder.
Alex is Makani’s polar opposite—she feels no shame for gossiping about Haley’s murder, nor about using Ollie’s connection to the Osborne Police Department (through his police officer brother, Chris) to find out inside details about the crime scene. This is another scene that could potentially plant seeds of doubt in readers about Ollie. Yes, there’s a logical explanation for why Ollie knows so much about Haley’s murder—his brother is a police officer—but could this be a red herring that distracts from the possibility that Ollie knows so much about Haley’s death because he’s actually the killer? There’s nothing solid to suggest this, but in a book that so far has focused on how little people tend to know about others, it’s a possibility that’s worth considering.
Ollie explains that Haley was found in her bed. There was no trace of the killer besides the slashes—no bruises, nothing under her fingernails, and no sign that she’d put up a fight. It’s unclear whether Haley’s killer was a stranger or someone she knew. Makani asks Ollie how he knows so much about the case if Chris doesn’t discuss work with him. Ollie admits to reading Chris’s case files while Chris is asleep. The car falls quiet as they look out toward Haley’s memorial site. Darby, the reliable one, fishes out a card he made for Haley last night. Everyone signs the card. Makani feels like a faker signing it, since she’d never spoken to Haley when she was alive. Then everyone exits the car to join the crowd gathered around Haley’s memorial. Makani struggles to relate to the mourning people, but she keeps it to herself and pretends to fit in.
The fact that there’s no sign that Haley tried to fight her killer points to the possibility that she knew her attacker. She’d be less likely to respond violently to someone she knew than a total stranger—certainly she’d feel less threatened by someone she knew. That Makani feels compelled to ask Ollie how he knows so much about Haley’s case suggests that Makani might have doubts about Ollie—maybe she even wonders if he was involved in Haley’s murder. Makani’s reticence to go through the motions of mourning when she doesn’t feel them sincerely suggests a certain distrust of going along with the crowd. The narrative has already established that whatever happened in Hawaii caused Makani’s friends to turn on her, so she has reason to be wary of mob psychology and conformity.
Ollie joins Makani and her friends at lunch, prompting curious looks from the other students in the cafeteria. Makani is glad for Ollie’s presence, since it helps her not to feel like a third wheel around Darby and Alex. But Ollie mumbles something incoherent and leaves early. Makani chases after him. He looks apologetic, and Makani understands. She, too, knows that sometimes a person gets overwhelmed and just needs to run. Ollie smiles and offers to drive Makani home that afternoon, and she accepts. Rodrigo Morales, who is sitting nearby, makes a crude joke about giving Makani a ride home. His female friends scoff. Another boy, David, a skinny senior wearing a Minecraft t-shirt, observes that walking would be preferable to having to ride with Rodrigo. Everyone laughs. Rodrigo is embarrassed.
Makani’s sympathy for Ollie shows that she’s learned from past mistakes never to assume she knows what another person is thinking. She and Ollie spent the first few months of the school year not talking to each other because they mistakenly assumed that each was romantically uninterested in the other. Now, she’s sure to give Ollie the benefit of the doubt and talk to him directly before assuming that he’s feeling a certain way. Rodrigo Morales, in contrast, seems to lack interpersonal communication skills. While the novel is mostly a thriller intended for entertainment, it also turns a thoughtful eye toward what it means to interact with the world and be misunderstood as a teenager.
Makani parts ways with Ollie and rejoins her friends. She asks Alex, who has a crush on Rodrigo, what she can possibly see in him. Rodrigo is smart, Alex insists. And while he might be immature, she can force him not to be. Darby makes fun of Alex for going off on Rodrigo for getting one answer wrong in physics yesterday. Makani tells her friends that Ollie is driving her home from school today. Suddenly, the mood between them shifts, and nobody speaks—even Alex. Darby cautiously tells Makani that they’ve lived in Osborne a lot longer than she has and know that there’s been something “off” about Ollie ever since his parents died, even if many of the rumors about him aren’t true. They urge Makani to be careful around Ollie.
Alex and Darby will accept Makani’s relationship with Ollie—but only to a point. While they’ll let him sit at their lunch table and hang out in their car, their alarmed response to learning that Ollie will be driving Makani home shows that they remain suspicious of Ollie. Darby’s remark about there being something “off” about Ollie since his parents’ deaths shows that he and Alex place stock in the local rumors about Ollie. This is likely concerning to Makani, since she’s constantly paranoid that her new friends will judge her for her past mistakes, whatever they may be.
Makani angrily defends Ollie. She says it’s unfair to judge someone who suffered a tragedy and made a few mistakes in life. Makani’s sudden rage is out of character and shocks her friends. She storms off before her friends can reply.
Makani’s sudden rage is about more than her friends judging Ollie—it’s also a projection of her fear that they will judge her just as quickly, should they become aware of her past.