Ellen decides to research what it means to be gay, but her efforts are largely disappointing until she heads to a gay bookstore.
She learns about how taboo it used to be to be gay. Now, according to her, it's not a big deal—you only have to worry about AIDS or hate crimes. (Yeah, uh, those are still a pretty big deal.)
Link still isn't speaking to her.
Link also got himself a girlfriend, one Polly Keller, who is Ellen's friend Laurel's sister.
Polly calls every night and talks to a more or less silent Link for hours.
James thinks Ellen is wasting her time reading books about gay people—they won't tell her what she wants to know.
It's hard for James to watch Link with Polly (and their little posse of followers) so he and Ellen start to eat out for lunch instead of sticking around the courtyard.
Since ninth graders aren't allowed to eat off school grounds, James forges a note on Ellen's father's stationary. Ellen feels like quite the rebel, but to make up for her transgression she stops her gay research and gets back to committing herself to her schoolwork.
By midterms she manages to earn all B's—which was her goal—and her dad is relatively proud of her. He admits there's room for improvement, but he's glad the "ridiculous" reports on her social abilities haven't resurfaced.
Since she did so well in French, James offers to take her to Paris after graduation, but she insists that by then he'll be back with Link. He disagrees.
James tries to explain why the books won't help her (or Link), and he describes the unwritten social laws that make being gay taboo.
Ellen's dad probably told Link that being gay was wrong.
James figures that in order to get back on Link's good side, Ellen has to find a way to reach out to him without it involving talking about James or Polly. The answer? Running.