Study Guide

Belle Prater's Boy Plot Analysis

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Plot Analysis


A Huge Mystery

The book starts off in the middle of a huge mystery—Gypsy's Aunt Belle has gone missing without a trace, and no one knows where she is. We are introduced to Gypsy's family, which includes her stepfather Porter (her father is dead), as well as to Coal Station, the idyllic town where she lives. Everything seems hunky dory for Gypsy and her loved ones, but beneath the surface something dark simmers… Gypsy, for one, always has these awful nightmares about a dead animal in a pool of blood. So something's most definitely up.

Rising Action

Woodrow Comes to Town

Things get more interesting around Coal Station when Gypsy's cousin Woodrow—Aunt Belle's kid—comes to town to stay with their grandparents. Gypsy and Woodrow become best friends and start going on all sorts of adventures together, seeing movies and sneaking out at night to go hang out in Gypsy's tree house. Woodrow is trying to figure out the mystery behind his mother's disappearance, but isn't getting any closer. Gypsy starts resenting Woodrow because everyone likes him for his personality while they only recognize her for her beauty and long, beautiful hair.


The Truth Comes Out

Things get tense when Gypsy goes to class one day and is asked about her daddy. When she says that he died in an accident, the class bully speaks up and says that she's lying—her father actually committed suicide. This brings back all of Gypsy's painful memories about seeing her father's dead body through the bedroom window. She goes home and hacks off all of her hair in a rage since her father made her mom promise not to cut her hair. Gypsy cuts away to get back at him for leaving her.

Falling Action

Coming Out of Hiding

After her outburst, Gypsy actually feels better, because she can finally talk about her father's death and how it's hurt her; it's all out in the open. Cutting off her hair also allows her to be herself more and step away from her identity as just a pretty girl. People get to know her and compliment her on her talents instead of her looks. She also becomes friendlier with Porter when she realizes that he's not trying to take her father's place, he's just trying to be there for her as a friend.


Place Between Two Worlds

At the very end, Gypsy and Woodrow sit in the tree house and watch the sunrise on the one-year anniversary of Belle's disappearance. Woodrow reveals that when his mother disappeared, some of his clothes went missing, too, and he believes she left town dressed as a boy. They both decide to  forgive their parents for leaving them; they understand now that they were just in too much pain to carry on with their lives. Gypsy and Woodrow can think of them with love instead of anger and hurt now.

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