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It's time for all the homeroom teachers to choose their academic teams. Mrs. Olinski still hasn't made up her mind, but she does know that she's not just going to choose the kids with the highest GPAs. Kids who are always successful sometimes stop taking risks.
The problem is that Mrs. Olinski can't choose the fourth and final team member. Noah, Nadia, and Ethan were easy to pick, but that fourth one is a doozy.
(We have a suggestion, Mrs. O.)
She actually considers Hamilton Knapp—and she never considers Julian. Both the boys are smart, but Julian is an outsider. At least Knapp has friends.
But with friends like those, who needs enemies?
Anyway, when Mrs. Olinski realizes that Knapp is the one who starts the mean-spirited chanting at Annie, she knows she can't ask him. No duh, Mrs. O.
And then she heads off to Sillington House with a car full of Souls. Her mission: seeing her old friend, Margaret Draper—who is now Margaret Draper Diamondstein.
Mrs. Olinski is excited to reconnect with Margaret. But the minute she sees the new Mrs. Diamondstein in her hideous turquoise tracksuit hugging her grandson, she just flips out.
Mentally, of course. Mrs. Olinski would never do something as gauche as lose her temper out loud.
The narrator doesn't tell us exactly why Mrs. O is so upset (except something about jealousy), but it probably has something to do with the fact that she's never going to have grandkids of her own, that she lost her husband in a horrible accident, that she's stuck in a wheelchair, and that a gang of malicious little sixth-graders is totally ruining her year.
Yeah, we'd be upset, too.
And then, Mrs. Olinski finds herself being pushed along by Mr. Singh, who's made tea.
Tea! As Mrs. Olinski sips her tea, she starts to chill out. And then she notices The Souls—only she doesn't know yet that they're The Souls. They're sitting in the corner, and they actually being polite to each other.
Epiphany time. Julian is the fourth member of the team.
And this chapter ends with something weird. Mrs. O says that she knows "someday she would drink another cup of slow tea at Sillington House" (5.38).
Is it just us, or is there something going on between Mrs. O and Julian's dad?