Chapters 18-19 Summary

Lunch

August is surprised at how difficult lunch is. Via told him it might be the hardest part of his middle school day, but he was not prepared to see so many kids at once. He did not expect them all to be saving seats for their friends either.

Eventually August chooses a seat at a table by himself. He looks around for Jack Will but does not see him. He sees Julian and a few other boys he vaguely knows, but he does not try to sit with them. 

The lunchroom teacher explains the rules of the cafeteria and then chooses tables one by one so kids can go up and get their lunches. August has brought his lunch from home, so he gets it out and unwraps it slowly. He feels the other kids staring, and he hears some girls whispering. He does not acknowledge them.  

August’s deformities make him a messy eater. His cleft palate has been repaired with surgery, but he still has a hole in the roof of his mouth. He had another surgery to make his jaws function well enough to eat solid food, but he chews with the front of his mouth instead of the back. Crumbs and bits of food are always spraying out. He thinks it makes him look “like some prehistoric swamp thing.”

The Summer Table

As August eats, a brown-haired girl appears beside him with a tray and asks if she can sit down. She introduces herself as Summer. When she learns August’s name, she gets excited because August is a summer month. She suggests that the two of them make a rule that only people with summer names can sit at their table. 

Summer suggests Julian and Julia because their names are based on the word July. August does not say anything, but he doubts he would want Julian to sit with him. He suggests adding a boy named Reid because that name sounds like “a reed of grass,” and he suggests Jack Will by making his name into a sentence: “Jack will go to the beach.”

By the end of lunch, Summer and August have a long list of names of people they would allow at their table. Together, they agree that even winter-named people would be allowed, as long as they were nice. Neither of them mentions the fact that nobody else seems likely to join them—not as long as August is sitting there.