Chapters 36-37 Summary

High School

Olivia loved middle school because when she went there, she was her own person, separate from her family. Elementary school was like an extension of her home life. Everyone called her Via, the nickname her family still uses for her. Also, August was always around. He came to school every time his parents came. There were not many people who could babysit for a boy who had as many needs as he did.

In middle school, there was more separation. A lot of people knew about August, but it was “maybe the second or third thing” they found out when they met her. Olivia knows kids whispered about it when she was not in the room, telling each other that she had a brother who was deformed. She did not mind that too much because August is a big part of her life, but she never liked being defined by her connection to him. Plus she hated—and still hates—the word deformed.

Now that Olivia is in high school, she has more separation from August than she has ever had before. Nobody except her friends Miranda and Ella know about him, and they keep their knowledge to themselves. Olivia has known Miranda and Ella since elementary school, and they have always been good friends. When she asked them to call her Olivia instead of Via, they understood.

Miranda and Ella have known August forever. In elementary school, they used to come over and play dress-up with him. In middle school, they all hung out together constantly. When they all got into Faulkner High together—the only three kids from their middle school who made the cut—they called each other screaming with excitement.

Olivia assumed the three of them would stay best friends forever. But now that high school has started, everything is different.

Major Tom

Miranda used to be the nicest to August of all Olivia’s friends, nicer even than Olivia herself sometimes. Miranda always made a point to talk to August and include him. She even gave him the astronaut helmet he used to wear all the time when he was little.

Every year, Miranda goes to summer camp. Normally she calls Olivia first thing when she comes home, but this year is different. Miranda does not call when she gets home, and she evades Olivia’s invitations to hang out.

Then, when Miranda arrives for the first day of high school, her hair is dyed bright pink, and she is wearing a tube top. She treats Olivia differently, as if they barely know each other.

At lunch, Miranda and Ella sit with Olivia. Ella, too, is dressing differently than she did last year. Soon Olivia realizes that Miranda and Ella have been hanging out over the summer without her. It is as if the two of them made big plans to change their styles and personalities—and to leave Olivia behind.