Chapters 11-12 Summary
After Julian, Jack Will, and Charlotte bring August back to Mr. Tushman's office, they hang around awkwardly, apparently unsure if they are allowed to leave. Mr. Tushman asks about the tour, and August says it was fine. Julian acts much nicer with the adults around. He even chats with August’s mom about the baby chicks that hatch every year in the science classrooms.
August does not want to stay at the school any longer, so he reminds his mom that they have to pick Via up. They do not really need to do this; the reminder is their pre-arranged signal so August can tell her he wants to leave without embarrassing anyone.
Mr. Tushman seems confused at their abrupt departure, so on his way out, August makes sure to say that the kids were nice. But he keeps his head turned away from the kids.
On the way home, August refuses to talk about the tour. When he and Mom arrive home, he runs to his room and hops onto the bed. He calls the dog, Daisy, and plays with her a little, not looking up when Mom comes in. He does not know why he does not want to tell her what is going on. He feels “very sad and a tiny bit happy at the exact same time,” and he does not know how to explain this.
Mom sits down on the bed and asks if the kids at the school were mean. August shrugs and says they were fine, but she demands to know more. She says that Julian, at least, seemed very nice. At this, August admits that Julian was “the least nice,” but that Jack was a good guy. At first, Mom thinks she has the two boys confused, but then she realizes that Julian is one of those kids who acts sweet in front of adults but not so nice in front of other kids.
August tells her how Julian asked about his face. Mom is horrified, so August rushes to tell her that Julian was not trying to be cruel. He was just asking, and the other two kids told him off for asking so rudely. But Mom is embarrassed and upset. She says that August does not have to go to the school if he would rather stay home.
But at this point, August has already made up his mind that he wants to go. Now his mom seems unsure of herself, but his decision is firm.