Chapters 15-16 Summary

Around the Room

After everyone figures out how to open his or her lock, Ms. Petosa explains that she used to work for Wall Street but quit her job because it was her lifelong dream to be a teacher. Julian raises his hand to say that is a cool thing to do, and she thanks him. She asks everyone to say a little about themselves and invites the rest of the class to ask questions. Because Julian has already spoken, she asks him to go first.

Julian tells the class about a new computer game and Ping-Pong table he got over the summer. Charlotte goes next, and she says she has two sisters and a new puppy. Ms. Petosa thanks her and continues working her way around the room toward August.

Lamb to the Slaughter

August looked up the phrase “lamb to the slaughter” last night and learned it describes someone who walks unknowingly into an awful situation. This phrase is on his mind when it is his turn to speak to the class about himself. He says he has a sister named Via and a dog named Daisy, and he leaves it at that.

When Ms. Petosa asks if anyone has questions, Julian raises his hand and asks about the little braid at the back of August’s hair. “Is that like a Padawan thing?” he asks. August says it is, but Ms. Petosa does not know what that means. Julian explains that it is a Star Wars thing. In the movies, kids who are training to be Jedi knights wear braids like that.

Eager to get the kids talking, Ms. Petosa asks if August likes Star Wars. August mumbles a yes, eager to stop being the center of attention, but Julian asks about August’s favorite character. August, beginning to think that Julian might be okay after all, names Jango Fett. Julian asks mildly if August likes Darth Sidious.

At this, Ms. Petosa tells the boys to talk about Star Wars after class, and she moves on to Jack Will. August is too busy thinking about Darth Sidious to listen to Jack’s answer. In Star Wars Episode III, Darth Sidious gets hit by lightning, and his face melts into an ugly, deformed blob. Nobody else seems to have understood the reference, but August is pretty sure it was intentional. Glancing up, he sees Julian watching him. Julian’s expression leaves little room for doubt: he was trying to get under August’s skin.