In typical Callie fashion, she'd gone on so long that Luce's crap phone cut the message off four lines in. In a way, Luce was almost relieved. She didn't want to read about how everyone from her old school had already forgotten what had happened to her, what she'd done to land herself in this place. (1.23)
It's not even five minutes into her new life at Sword & Cross, and Luce already knows that her social standing at her old school is already ruined beyond belief. She can't let her best friend know any more about her new prison. At least not having a phone might get her away from all the gossip that's flying about her.
"Detention buddies does not equal real life buddies."
Arriane looked back at Luce, who could feel her face falling, despite her bet efforts to appear unfazed.
"Look, Luce, I didn't mean…" she trailed off. "Okay, aside from the fact that you made me waste a good twenty minutes of my morning, I have no problem with you. In fact, I think you're sort of interesting. Kinda fresh. That said, I don't know what you were expecting in terms of mushy-gushy friendship here at Sword & Cross. But let me be the first to tell you, it just ain't that easy. People are here because they've got baggage. I'm talking curbside-check-in, pay-the-fine-cause-it's-over-fifty-pounds kind of baggage. Get it?" (4.59-61)
Here Arriane lays it all on the line for Luce, telling her straight out that Sword & Cross is not Dover Prep: making friends will not be as easy as swapping phone numbers and sitting together at lunch. People here are here for real reasons, not just supernatural reasons, and Luce has to understand that just as she doesn't necessarily want to open up to anyone, the other students might not want to open up to her. Communication is a two-way street, and all that. Except here is sometimes a no-way street.
Lucinda (Luce) Price
"Callie," she said, sighing into the phone, "I gotta go. I'll call again as soon as—" But by then there was just the vague buzz of a dial tone in her ear. The phone itself had been rigged to cap each call at fifteen minutes. Now she saw the tiny timer blinking 0:00 on its base. They hadn't even gotten the chance to say goodbye and now she'd have to wait another whole week to call. Time stretched out in Luce's mind like an endless gulf. (5.29)
It stinks to have limited phone time. Sometimes you just want to chill on the phone with your BFF and chat about all the things that are going on in your life, especially when you're in a new place with no one else to talk to. Luce, we feel your pain.
She watched Daniel walk away with Roland. He didn't look back, and every step he took away from her made her feel more and more freakishly alone. (7.83)
This is just one of the many instances when Daniel walks away from Luce and makes her feel like dirt. That's their chemistry. On top of that, Daniel constantly ignores and belittles Luce, only to go back and do something nice and confuse her feelings again. Even though we find out why he's doing it in the end, it's still not cool.
Cam looked at Penn like he was trying to figure out where she'd come from all of a sudden. He had a way of making Luce feel like a better, cooler version of herself. And she had a way of crossing his path right after Daniel had made her feel exactly the opposite. (10.28)
Like a knight in shining armor, Cam swoops in to save the day. He does this quite a lot, and this perfect example happens right after Daniel insulting Luce for no reason and left with Roland. No wonder Luce is so indecisive about boys.
Luce wanted to give Penn a moment alone with her dad, so she got, took a step back, and turned away, heading down the slope toward the heart of the cemetery. (13.115)
Sometimes loneliness isn't a burden, but a necessity. Luce respects that here: she gives Penn a moment with her father—which is a nice thing to do, given that Penn has spent the whole day with Luce's parents.
Her eyes were still a little glassy, but she thought she could see someone sitting alone on top of the monolith. Yes. A guy with his arms wrapped around his knees. She couldn't imagine how he had gotten up there, but there he was.
He looked stiff and lonely, as if he'd been there all day... After such an emotional day with her own parents, the thought nearly brought Luce to her knees with sadness. Daniel was alone in the world. (13.116-118)
Although this happens right after Luce walks away from Penn, it needed its own analysis, given that the mood shifts so quickly. This is the first time we see a glimmer of vulnerability from Daniel since the prologue. And here, it's all the more significant because he's not putting on a show. We're also not inside his head: this passage comes purely from Luce's perspective.
No one had come right out and told her that there were more battles to be fought, but Luce felt the truth inside her, that they were at the start of something long and significant and hard.
Well, at least the book ends on a high note, not with a sense of loneliness and loss, but with a sense of hope and togetherness. Even though Luce has lost Penn and doesn't know when she'll see her parents again, she knows she has Daniel, Arriane, and Gabbe, and she'll stand with them to fight the oncoming battles that she knows are on the way.
Lucinda (Luce) Price
It was agonizing for Luce to accept that she would have to settle for whispering a few last words to her friend inside the chapel. All she could think to say was "You're with your father now. I know he's happy to have you back."
Daniel would bury Penn properly as soon as the school calmed down—and Luce would show him where Penn's father's grave was so Penn could be laid to rest at his side. It was the very least she could do. (20.5-6)
The feels. Oh, the feels. As if Penn's death didn't do us in enough when it happened, we now get this eulogy for Penn from Luce before she's forced to leave Sword & Cross. And to mention Penn's father? We repeat: oh, the feels.
Luce hemmed and hawed at the side of the pool, unable to tune in to Coach Diante's instructions. Seeing Gabbe et al. clustered on the bleachers cool-kids-style made Luce wish that Cam were there. She could picture him looking buff in a sleek black bathing suit, waving her over to the crew with his big smile, making her feel immediately welcome, even important (6.41)
Even kids at Sword & Cross can be cliquey, and apparently Luce doesn't yet feel like she's part of the in-crowd, even though she went to Cam's party. The social milieu of Sword & Cross isn't so different from that of a regular school, in that regard.