Study Guide

Perfect Summary

By Ellen Hopkins

Perfect Summary

Perfect has four narrators, all of whom are high school students in Nevada: Cara Sierra Sykes, Kendra Melody Mathieson, Andre Marcus Kane III, and Sean Terrence O'Connell. Cara, Kendra, and Sean go to the same public school; Andre goes to private school. Their stories intertwine due of the suicide of Cara's twin brother, Conner.

Conner was one of the narrators of Impulse, to which Perfect is the sequel, and he's still alive at the beginning of the book. Cara, now a high-school senior, tells us what life has been like since Conner attempted suicide and ended up in a psychiatric hospital called Aspen Springs. With Conner gone, Cara bears the brunt of her parents' intense pressure to be—you guessed it—perfect. She gets straight As, is a cheerleader, and is going to Stanford in the fall. She's also dating a hot jock.

That hot jock is Sean, who's madly in love with her. He's also madly in love with baseball, and he's determined to follow Cara to Stanford by getting a sports scholarship. He spends most of his time working out, trying to get bigger and stronger. It's not going as quickly as he'd hoped, though, so he asks his drug-dealing older brother, Chad, to get him some steroids.

Kendra's also a cheerleader, and she used to be Conner's girlfriend, before Conner started sleeping with his teacher and everything fell apart. She's still in love with him, even though she hasn't seen or talked to him since he went into Aspen Springs. Like Conner, she deals with intense parental pressure, but in a different way—her mom wants her to be a pageant princess and runway model. She's afraid to eat, because she might gain weight and let her mom down. Her nose job is scheduled for spring break, and her plastic surgeon is Dr. Kane, Andre's mom.

Speaking of Andre's mom, she's wealthy, as is his dad, as was his grandfather. They're self-made rich people, and they expect him to follow in their footsteps. Secretly, though, he wants to be a dancer. The day Kendra goes to see his mom for her rhinoplasty consultation, Andre swings by the office to get some money, which he's told her is for clothes but is really for dance lessons (shhh…). There he meets Kendra's younger sister, the fast-talking, fast-living Jenna. Andre is immediately smitten, and they begin dating.

Cara goes snowboarding one day and plows into a snowdrift. A cute girl named Dani pulls her out, and Cara realizes that the reason she's never been attracted to Sean is that she's attracted to girls. She and Dani kiss, and it's all over: Cara's gay. But how can a perfect, popular cheerleader ever admit to being a lesbian? She's still a virgin, so she decides she'll sleep with Sean just to make sure she can't get into the guy thing.

This is a bad idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that Sean's become addicted to steroids. He's increasingly unable to control his, uh, urges. So when he and Cara start to do the deed, and she changes her mind mid-makeout and says no, he rapes her. Because he's an idiot, Sean can't understand why she can't just get over it—and when Cara stops speaking to him, he starts stalking her.

Kendra, in the meantime, is going down the eating disorder rabbit hole. She finds some leftover prescription painkillers in the medicine cabinet and discovers that when she takes them, she doesn't care about anything, including food. What she does care about is the fact that her loser dad has decided to marry his much-younger girlfriend, Shiloh, who tries to ingratiate herself into Kendra and Jenna's lives. Ugh.

Lacking a father figure, Kendra hooks up with a new agent named Xavier, who promises her the world if she (1) loses weight and (2) sleeps with casting directors. She does both. The former is much easier when she starts taking the diet pills Xavier gives her. As for the latter, it's awful, but it helps her get modeling jobs.

Jenna's not a model or a particularly good student, but she's also lacking a father figure, and she deals with it is by getting random guys to buy her booze. Much to Andre's dismay, Jenna's got a serious drinking problem; she brings a flask on all their dates and has a habit of getting wasted and passing out while the night's still young. Andre loves her despite all this—or at least, he's really hot for her—so he tries to save her. As you might expect, this is impossible. The only time he's not thinking about Jenna is when he's in the dance studio.

Cara ditches Sean, sleeps with Dani, and realizes she's definitely gay. Sean, because he's a creepy stalker, stalks her to Dani's house, where he looks in Dani's bedroom window, sees them having sex, and takes pictures. He wastes no time texting the pics to all his friends, which means they circulate not only around the school, but all over the internet.

Cara presses charges, and Sean ends up in jail, though only overnight. Did we mention he's hearing voices due to steroid psychosis? Because he is.

Everything comes to a head when Jenna is raped and beaten on the same day Conner kills himself. Kendra has the world's worst day when she gets the news about Conner while sitting beside Jenna's hospital bed. Jenna lives, but everyone has to go to Conner's funeral.

Andre goes with Shantell, a dancer friend who went to high school with Conner. The other narrators are there, too, as well as two of Conner's friends from Aspen Springs, Tony and Vanessa (the other narrators of Impulse). Tony and Vanessa deliver a eulogy in which they tell everyone that Conner got tired of hiding who he really was, so he opted out. The narrators have epiphanies about how life's too short to be anything other than what you want to be—ain't nobody got time for parental pressure.

  • Chapter 1

    Cara

    • Cara begins the book by asking why the outward appearance of perfection is more important than the person inside.
    • Picking up where Impulse left off, Cara tells us about her twin brother, Conner, who had an affair with his teacher and attempted suicide.
    • When he shot himself in the chest, he left a stain on the new white carpet. The carpet guys have come to their house to replace it.
    • The new carpet is mint green. Cara's mom chose it, but she's not happy about how they're installing it; she keeps yelling at the carpet guys, calling them idiots.
    • Cara tells us there's no way of pleasing her mom. Lord knows she's tried.
    • Her parents constantly pressure her to make perfect grades and do all kinds of extracurricular activities. They want her to get into Stanford.
    • They like that she's dating Sean, who's a good-looking jock and baseball star.
    • Cara's mom is outwardly perfect and looks younger than her age. She has a posse of perfect-looking friends.
    • As for her dad, a powerful political lobbyist, he's hardly ever home.
    • Cara's afraid of turning out like her mom if she doesn't "find [her] wings." Today, though, she's trying not to think about it.
    • She talks about the day she returned to school after Conner's suicide attempt. The rumor mill was in full swing, thanks to her obnoxious neighbor Bobby Duvall.
    • She's been lying and telling everyone Conner's okay, but the truth is that he's still in a mental hospital called Aspen Springs.
    • Everyone at school has pretty much forgotten about him, except for his ex-girlfriend Kendra, who's still in love despite the fact that he dumped her.
  • Chapter 2

    Kendra

    • Kendra grew up believing she was pretty. The mirror was her best friend, until it started lying—now she thinks she's not pretty enough.
    • She's tall and Scandinavian, with pale blonde hair, pale skin, and blue eyes; when she cheers at outdoor games, she has to wear SPF 60 sunblock.
    • Because she's practicing for the Miss Teen Nevada pageant, she spends most of her time at dance lessons, voice lessons, and her volunteer gig at the food bank.
    • She doesn't have much time for homework or having fun, but that's okay, because it helps keep her mind off Conner.
    • Kendra wants to visit Conner in the hospital, but Cara has told her he's at Saint Mary's and that they don't allow visitors.
    • She tells us she's not the smartest girl at school, but she's popular because she's pretty.
    • So pretty, in fact, that she dreams of being a runway model. She doesn't think she's good enough yet, but she's been doing pageants since she was a baby, and she's done some catalog modeling jobs.
    • Pageants cost a lot of money, but her orthodontist stepdad, Patrick, pays for them.
    • The next step in making herself perfect? A nose job. She's got it scheduled for spring break; Patrick's paying for that, too.
    • If the surgeon is good, Kendra plans to go back for a boob job.
    • Her mom and Patrick aren't down with the breast augmentation idea, but when Kendra turns eighteen, she'll have access to her pageant winnings, and she can do what she wants.
    • Speaking of boobs, Kendra's little sister Jenna, who just turned sixteen, is pretty well endowed.
    • Jenna isn't as driven as Kendra, though, and she's spending her snow day in her pajamas, reading a book. (Sounds good to us.)
    • Kendra wants Jenna to get dressed and help shovel snow, but Jenna doesn't see the point, since it's just going to snow some more.
    • Kendra tells Jenna that shoveling is good exercise, so Jenna tells Kendra to go for it; she's looking a little flabby.
    • Kendra agrees that she's too fat, but she's working to get thinner. Then she'll win Miss Teen Nevada, her parents will be proud of her, and maybe Conner will come back. She decides to ask her friend Sean for some steroids to speed her weight loss up a bit.
  • Chapter 3

    Sean

    • Sean's on a mission to get a buff body through lifting weights.
    • He's a first baseman, and he's going to be the best one ever. His dad, who's now dead, was a baseball freak and football coach.
    • His dad told him when he was a kid that Mark McGwire was the best first baseman ever, so Sean's trying to get McGwire's arms.
    • He also plays football, but he's better at baseball—he's even trying to get a baseball scholarship to Stanford, because that's where his girlfriend Cara is going.
    • He's sure he can get in, because not only is he an awesome baseball player, Cara's parents are alumni, and her dad's rich and connected.
    • Another person with connections: Sean's uncle, Jeff.
    • There are going to be Stanford scouts at one of Sean's games this season, so he has to be awesome every time.
    • He's spending his snow day working out in the weight room at Uncle Jeff's house, which is where Sean and his brother Wade have lived since their parents died.
    • Bobby Duvall shows up to work out with him.
    • As they lift, Bobby asks Sean to hook him up with some steroids, which Sean's not taking… yet.
    • Sean's annoyed. He tells Bobby that they're going to get drug-tested soon, and he's not going down for being a supplier.
    • Bobby asks Sean to get the steroids for him after the test.
    • Sean gets angry and shows Bobby the door. When Bobby leaves, Sean checks his messages and sees that he has one from Cara, which improves his mood.
  • Chapter 4

    Andre

    • Andre's a stud. Girls dig him.
    • His parents expect him to live up to the achievements of his successful black ancestors, but he feels like their dreams are swallowing his own.
    • Still, the money his overachiever parents make is nice. Andre drives a fancy Audi Quattro and wears fancy clothes.
    • He tells us about his grandfather, Andre Marcus Kane Sr., who wanted a big house in Oakland, CA. In order to get one, he became an inventor and got a full scholarship to Cal-Poly.
    • His grandpa became a computer expert and "led the charge into the Silicon Valley" in the 1960s.
    • Because of pressure from Andre Kane Sr., Andre Kane Jr. became an investment banker.
    • Now Andre's dad is a real-estate investor, which means he has enough money to send Andre Kane III to Zephyr Academy, a swanky private high school.
    • Before they moved to Nevada, Andre got into the California street dance scene—he could never tell his dad he wants to be a dancer, though.
    • Andre's gotten into two California colleges, and his dad's pressuring him to pick one. Andre's procrastinating, though, since he's waiting to hear from his first choice: the San Francisco Art Institute.
    • He told his dad he was applying, and his dad flipped out and asked if Andre was gay.
    • He's not gay, but he's into jazz, ballet, modern, and ballroom dance, and he secretly takes lessons from a teacher named Liana.
    • His mom's not into the art school thing either. She's a plastic surgeon who makes big money sucking the fat out of people's thighs and making black women look more like white women.
    • As Andre heads out the door to make the most of his snow day, he says goodbye to his mom, but she's on the phone and doesn't answer.
  • Chapter 5

    Cara

    • Cara wants to go for a run, but it wouldn't be a snow day if the roads weren't icy.
    • She tells us how she will "forever walk beneath an umbrella of expectation," and how her parents won't accept anything other than their plans for her life.
    • Her friends pretend to love her, but they're just hanging out with her in the hope that her popularity rubs off on them.
    • Sean says he loves her, too, but she's not even sure what love is, so how can she know if he's telling the truth?
    • Speaking of Sean, she's totally not attracted to him. He's fun and adventurous, though, and it's nice always having someone to hang out with.
    • Sean comes to her house in his GMC pickup (a gift from Uncle Jeff) to pick her up—they're going to the cemetery to visit his dad's grave. His dad died in a bus crash; his mom died giving birth to his brother at home.
    • The cab of the truck is filled with flowers. Cara notices there are no roses and wonders why, so Sean explains his mom loved roses and grew them everywhere, and when she died, his dad went nuts and ripped them all out.
    • They go to the grave and Sean places the flowers on his parents' headstones. Cara notices that Sean's mom was only twenty-eight.
    • Sean goes off on how she wouldn't have died if she hadn't gotten all hippie and new-agey, tried to give birth at home, and hemorrhaged
    • Cara sort of understands. She doesn't really have much of a mom either.
  • Chapter 6

    Kendra

    • Kendra and her mom are on their way to the Miss Teen Spirit of the West pageant in Elko, Nevada, five hours from their home in Reno. It's just a regional pageant, but the prize money is good.
    • Kendra's mom coaches her about keeping her chin up and shoulders back.
    • The attention she gets at pageants is pretty awesome, but Kendra doesn't like the backstabbing and bribery often required to win.
    • Sometimes pageant hopefuls offer sexual favors to the judges. Kendra says she wouldn't do that to win Miss Teen Spirit of the West… but she might do it for Miss America.
    • She's not sure her mom would object. After all, "every crown puts you one step closer to the runway."
    • Three hours into the trip, they've run out of conversation, and Kendra's mom asks if she wants to talk about Conner. Her mom asks if she thinks Conner shot himself over their breakup.
    • Kendra thought the shooting was an accident—this is the first time anyone's told her it was a suicide attempt.
    • Her mom found out the truth when she was "dealing with another Jenna issue" in the guidance counselor's office. She heard the counselor talking about sending Conner's homework to Aspen Springs.
    • Kendra texts Cara to find out if all this is true.
    • Cara texts back wanting to know who told; she tells Kendra not to tell anyone.
    • Kendra's mad—she thought Cara was her friend. But then, the Sykes family doesn't really have true friends.
    • She asks Cara why Conner did it, and Cara says she doesn't know.
    • Kendra's mom checks them into a shabby hotel called the Thunderbird Motel. Kendra asks why they're not staying at the Holiday Inn.
    • Turns out her mom has memories of staying there on a trip with Kendra's dad.
    • Her mom wants to go to lunch, but Kendra says she wants a nap—she doesn't want to eat.
    • Kendra lies in bed and wonders why Conner would attempt suicide; she guesses that he got tired of being afraid.
    • The only other person she knows who's been to Aspen Springs is her fellow dance student Tiffany, who was bulimic. Kendra's determined not to let anyone know about her own eating disorder.
  • Chapter 7

    Sean

    • Sean wants to know how people expect to achieve things without putting in any effort.
    • He's determined to create a structured path to getting where he wants to be—no more of this "wrong place, wrong time" stuff. That's how he lost his parents, and he's not going to lose Cara, too.
    • He's determined to marry her, so right now he's working on his plan to go to college with her.
    • He says he's slept with a few other girls, but they were all "appetizers," and Cara's a "main course."
    • They haven't had sex yet, but he's okay with waiting a bit longer, since they're going to get married and all.
    • His brother, Chad, thinks he's nuts—Chad says Sean can't know if Cara is marriage material unless he takes her for a "test drive." Stay classy, Chad.
    • Sean says girls are pretty much all the same in bed, though. Case in point: Kendra. He had sex with her before she hooked up with Conner.
    • He asks Cara why Kendra's texting her, and Cara says it's nothing important. However, Cara seems like she's really contemplating every text she sends. She won't tell him what's up.
    • Sean mentions that Cara isn't a much better communicator than her mother, but he'd never tell her that, and instead he asks if she's heard from Stanford.
    • Cara says she hasn't yet, but she did hear from Loyola. She got in.
    • Sean's not happy about the possible change of plans, so he plays off the Loyola thing and changes the subject. He asks if Conner's "all healed up yet."
    • Cara asks if it's Dig Up Information on Conner Day. She doesn't answer his question.
  • Chapter 8

    Andre

    • Andre says he likes "playing the game," which means being smarter and more talented than other people. Everybody's gone back to school after the snowstorm, so today's game was faking his way through a trigonometry test.
    • He'll never use math anyway, so he doesn't know why his mom thinks it's so important.
    • Well, except for the fact that she uses it to figure out how much anesthesia to give people and how much flesh to cut off their bodies to make them perfect.
    • As for his dad, he uses math to figure out whether or not his clients can afford the houses they're buying.
    • Andre thinks math might come in handy for figuring out the speed and angle at which he'd have to drive off a mountain to kill himself.
    • He's on his way to a dance lesson with Liana after school. He needs to work off some stress since his dad was hounding him this morning about visiting colleges over spring break.
    • Andre needs $200 for the month's dance lessons, so he plans to tell his mom he needs clothes and a haircut and stops by her office.
    • It's pre-op consultation day, and the office is busy. One of the patients is Kendra, who's in the exam room with his mom discussing her new nose.
    • Jenna's in the waiting room, and Andre is immediately smitten. After all, Jenna has a hot body.
    • Andre starts talking to her while waiting for his mom. He asks if she's there to have surgery, and Jenna says no; she's there with her sister. Jenna's happy with her nose the way it is.
    • They exchange numbers, and Andre thinks about her as he drives to dance lessons. He decides to call her right then and ask her out.
    • Jenna says she has plans for Saturday and Andre says he'll try again.
    • He goes to the dance studio and can't concentrate, so he calls her back and tells her to cancel her plans.
  • Chapter 9

    Cara

    • Cara goes snowboarding at Mt. Rose. As she rides up the hill on the chairlift, she thinks about Conner, and how he was always the fastest but never cared.
    • She, on the other hand, really wanted to win a medal in a race; she wonders why he got the talent and she got the drive.
    • She goes on a run down a hill and hits a boulder, which sends her into a snowdrift.
    • She can't get out and worries she's going to die, which would at least allow her to rest, but just as she's thinking morbid death thoughts, a girl comes along and pulls her out of the snow.
    • The girl's her age and super hot. Cara's instantly attracted to her, which is confusing—she's never had those feelings before.
    • The girl introduces herself as Dani and suggests they partner up. Cara, of course, is all about it.
    • They snowboard together for a bit, then get back on the chairlift, where Dani's leg touches Cara's. Dani admits she was watching Cara after noticing she was snowboarding alone.
    • Cara says her boyfriend couldn't come because he had baseball practice.
    • Dani says she thought Cara was gay—and Cara says she might be. (Though they don't actually use the word gay.)
    • They go down a beginner's hill together and Dani kisses her. Cara's head basically explodes. Needless to say, she likes it.
  • Chapter 10

    Kendra

    • Kendra sleeps in and dreams about having sex with Conner. In her dream, he tells her he has to go, and she begs him to stay.
    • She wakes up and he's not there.
    • She lies in bed for another twenty minutes, feeling like she has weights on her arms and legs. Jenna, with whom she shares a room, wakes up and asks if she's sick.
    • Kendra says no, and Jenna gets up to get dressed, putting on one of Kendra's sweaters and then asking to borrow it.
    • Kendra grudgingly agrees, and Jenna goes in the bathroom, showers, and gets all dressed up. She tells Kendra she's going to lunch and a movie with a guy, who happens to be the son of Kendra's plastic surgeon.
    • Which means he's black. Kendra knows their racist dad is going to freak.
    • Jenna says she doesn't care about their dad—after all, he left their mom and barely speaks to them anymore. He sends them gift cards on their birthdays, but he never asks to see them.
    • Kendra realizes it's 11:00AM, which means she's wasted prime calorie-burning time.
    • Jenna leaves with Andre, and Kendra eats a tomato and two turkey slices for breakfast.
    • She calls Sean's house to ask if she can come over and work out. Another of Sean's brothers, Wade, answers the phone and says yes, as long as he can watch.
    • She goes over to his house and hops on the elliptical to burn some calories.
  • Chapter 11

    Sean

    • Sean's working out again. (Surprise.)
    • It's taken a sinister turn, though: He's dipped into his savings account to buy steroids.
    • He's taking a chance, but the truth is that steroid testing is really expensive, despite what he told Bobby. If he wins games, he's pretty sure his coach will look the other way.
    • Uncle Jeff's lifting with him today, and he reminds Sean that it's Valentine's Day, then slips him a hundred bucks to buy Cara a gift.
    • Sean calls Cara, who says she has to cheer that night. He tells her he has a gift for her, even though he doesn't yet.
    • He goes to Zales at Meadowood Mall, where he tosses in two hundred dollars of his own to buy her a necklace with a heart-shaped diamond pendant.
    • After the game, he picks her up, and she apologizes for being short with him earlier (by which she means the day Kendra was texting her about Conner).
    • When he gives her the necklace and tells her he loves her, she doesn't say she loves him, too, but she kisses him.
    • The way that his body would normally, er, respond to her kiss doesn't happen, and he wonders what's up with that.
  • Chapter 12

    Andre

    • Andre tells us about Zephyr Academy. It will prepare you for an Ivy League school, but there's not much of a social scene.
    • He's had sex with a few of the girls there, but Jenna is in a whole different league.
    • It's the night of their third date, and he's picking her up at 4:30PM so they can get into a nice restaurant for dinner.
    • On his way out the door, he says goodbye to his dad, who's in his office doing research.
    • His dad asks if he's going out, and Andre says he has a date. Dad wants to know about her, so Andre says she goes to Galena High and she's blonde.
    • Upon finding out Jenna is white, Andre's dad tells him he should date black girls and asks if he's ashamed of his race.
    • This is ironic, given that Andre's mom is light-skinned and alters the faces of black women to make them look more like white women. Still, he feels a little racist for preferring white girls.
    • But hey, who's got time to ponder race when they've got a date with a hot girl like Jenna? Andre picks her up and they head to Red Lobster, which is apparently their idea of a nice restaurant.
    • Jenna's wearing a tight sweater and too-short skirt, and people are looking at her.
    • She talks about Kendra's beauty pageants and her parents' divorce; she tells him her dad's a loser. Then she tries to order wine.
    • The waiter says no.
    • Andre asks Jenna if she drinks at home, and she says she does—her mom and Patrick always have an open bottle around.
    • After dinner, he asks her if she's ever kissed a black guy, to which she says she hadn't noticed he was black.
    • She kisses him, and it's hot.
  • Chapter 13

    Cara

    • Cara's having a bit of an existential crisis, what with the same-sex lust and all. She wonders who she really is beneath her perfect exterior.
    • Sean's just not doing it for her. She thought she was in love with him, but now that she's met Dani, she's not so sure about that.
    • Still, Sean's been nice to her. They've been together for a year, and he's never tried to force her into sex.
    • She decides she's going to have to sleep with him to figure out whether or not she's gay; she also needs to know if love and sex are the same thing.
    • She's going to his exhibition baseball game. On her way out, she hears her mom talking to Emily Sanders on the phone. That's the teacher Conner fooled around with, and Mrs. Sykes is trying to run her out of town.
    • Cara smells alcohol coming from her mother's room. Her mom's so awful, it's no wonder her dad never comes home lately.
    • She goes to Sean's game and sits in the bleachers—in Nevada, they play baseball in the freaking snow.
    • Sean's extra aggressive on the field today, and when he gets up to bat, he hits the first pitch. They win the game.
    • Afterward, Sean and Cara go out for pizza, and she picks at her food while he chows down. She thinks the way he eats pizza is sexy. He smells kind of dangerous under all that pepperoni.
    • She runs her hand up his thigh and asks him if he wants to go somewhere private.
    • Does he ever. They get in his car, go to a make-out spot, and, um, make-out.
    • She reaches into his pants, and again, his body's not responding.
    • She asks what she did wrong, and he tells her it isn't her.

  • Chapter 14

    Kendra

    • Kendra continues to ruminate over how she wasn't good enough to keep Conner from leaving her. She decides that if she had been thinner, he could have loved her.
    • Back at school, rumors about Conner and Mrs. Sanders are flying, and Bobby Duvall tells Kendra what went down (namely, that they had an affair).
    • Mrs. Sanders is outta there, presumably because Mrs. Sykes told the superintendent. They'll have subs for the rest of the year.
    • Kendra starts shaking, partly from the news and partly from hunger—she hasn't eaten since breakfast yesterday. She allows herself to eat five almonds.
    • The almonds will get her through PE, and she brought a plain salad with no dressing for lunch.
    • She wonders why Conner told her he loved her. She wonders if he said the same to Mrs. Sanders.
    • In PE, she runs laps around the gym and hears girls making fun of how skinny she is, and how cheerleaders think they're so special.
    • After PE, Kendra goes out to her car to eat her salad. She sees Cara walking to Sean's truck and calls out to her.
    • She wants to know why Cara didn't tell her that Conner attempted suicide.
    • Kendra wants to know why he did it and if anyone in Cara's family has talked to him. Cara says he's still not allowed phone calls, and of course the rest of the family doesn't talk about stuff.
    • Kendra heads for a photo shoot, still obsessing about Conner. As she puts on makeup and does her hair, she wonders if it was Mrs. Sanders's boob job that made Conner choose her.
    • She'd raid the liquor cabinet if she could, but booze has calories, so instead she goes into the bathroom and finds some leftover Percocet in the medicine cabinet.
    • By the time she gets in her car to drive to the shoot, she's feeling pretty good. She runs off the road and hits the speed grates, but it wakes her up, and she manages to drive the last five miles.
    • The photographer's not quite ready for her, so she sits in the waiting room, where a sketchy man asks her if she has an agent.
    • Kendra says yes and gives him her agent's name. He tells her to leave that agent, because he can represent her better—he gives her his card and says they need to talk.
  • Chapter 15

    Sean

    • Sean's freaking out because Cara has told him they need to talk.
    • He's also freaking out over the body-not-working thing. Nothing helps, including Internet porn.
    • Going to the doctor is out, because they'd do a blood test and find out about the steroids, so he decides to talk to Chad.
    • He picks up sandwiches and goes to Chad's apartment near the University of Nevada-Reno, where Chad's majoring in nutrition.
    • Chad's sitting in the kitchen studying and drinking beer; he offers one to Sean, who takes it.
    • Talking about this isn't easy, but Sean manages to get it out.
    • Chad tells him that steroids cause erectile dysfunction, though he says it a bit more crudely than that. He suggests Sean stop taking them for a while.
    • Sean's not down with that, because after all, other athletes have hot women. (Faultless logic, right?)
    • Chad suggests Viagra, and then supplies it. Sean wonders if it will make him awesome in the sack.
    • He drives home having had four beers. When he arrives, his aunt and uncle are eating dinner and they ask him if he's going to eat with them, but he says he doesn't feel good.
  • Chapter 16

    Andre

    • Meanwhile, Andre's still crazy hot for Jenna.
    • On the plus side, Jenna's good in bed.
    • On the minus side, she drinks way too much and wears too little clothing in public.
    • It's the first Saturday in March, and they're going to the Ultimate Rush Thrill Park at the Grand Sierra Resort to ride bumper cars and play miniature golf—or so he thinks.
    • When he goes to pick her up, she's wearing short-shorts, a low-cut sweater, and a push-up bra.
    • Turns out the park has thrill rides, and when they pull into the parking lot, they sees people doing the slingshot bungee-jump thing—Jenna's all about the bungee.
    • But first, she pulls a flask of cinnamon schnapps out of her purse, drinks some, and offers it to Andre.
    • He drinks and feels sick to his stomach.
    • They decide to get some burgers at Johnny Rockets before bungee jumping (great idea, guys), and as they walk into the restaurant, he realizes Jenna's already drunk.
    • After lunch, Andre pays fifty bucks to do the bungee jump. The chapter ends with them being strapped into the slingshot cage.
  • Chapter 17

    Cara

    • Cara's still having her existential crisis: She wants to try new things, but she's afraid she'll fail.
    • Welcome to being human, Cara!
    • She wakes up from a dream about trying to crawl out of quicksand and, since it's a beautiful day, she goes out for a jog.
    • While running, she contemplates Sean, Conner, and Dani, who has asked her to go snowboarding again.
    • After finishing a few miles, she jogs home past Mrs. Sanders's house. Movers are packing stuff into a truck, and there's a For Sale sign in the yard.
    • Cara knows her mom is the one who ran Mrs. Sanders not just out of her job, but out of town. (Not that it's okay to have an affair with your student, or anything, but Cara thinks Conner is the one who started the whole thing.)
    • Back at home, her parents are having coffee, and Cara bursts through the door and asks them what they've done.
    • Mrs. Sykes, always worried about her flooring, tells Cara she's dripping sweat on the tile; she also tells Cara they got a restraining order against Mrs. Sanders.
    • Additionally, she somehow pushed Mrs. Sanders into getting a divorce. Moral of the story? Never underestimate the power of Cara's mom.
    • Cara feels angry and dirty, so she takes a shower. Then she calls Dani, because she needs to get out of the house.
    • They meet and go for a walk. Cara tells Dani the whole story about her family and Conner's affair with Mrs. Sanders.
    • Dani tells Cara about her family. Her mom was a prostitute who overdosed on heroin, and in response, her fourteen-year-old brother, Caleb, ate a bunch of Ecstasy, stole a car, and drove head-on into a semi.
    • You win, Dani.
    • They kiss again. It's hot again. Cara's officially in love with a girl.
  • Chapter 18

    Kendra

    • Kendra's officially in love with the medicine cabinet. Specifically, Percocet.
    • However, there were only four in the bottle—and she took one the day she found out about Conner, and one the day her dad showed up drunk at her spring honor choir performance.
    • About that performance: Her dad was hitting on some random woman, and her stepdad Patrick decided to go talk to him, all while Kendra was onstage singing.
    • Her dad got louder, and Patrick had to escort him out of the gym.
    • Kendra's mom wanted to know why she told him about the performance, and Kendra yelled at her mom that she didn't invite him, and Patrick yelled at Kendra not to curse.
    • A fight with Patrick ensued. Kendra said she'd be eighteen next month and he couldn't tell her what to do, and he told her that her eighteenth birthday was after her plastic surgery, which meant that if she didn't shape up, he wouldn't pay for it.
    • Jenna came in with smeared makeup, which meant she'd been out having too much fun.
    • Patrick and Jenna got into a fight, and Kendra took a Percocet.
    • She took another one the following week, when her dad told her he was getting remarried (to someone they didn't even know) and asked her and Jenna to be bridesmaids.
    • And then she took the fourth after getting turned down for a Teen Vogue fashion shoot.
    • Her theory: She was too fat. However, when she called her agent, Maxine, she found out Maxine forgot to do whatever it is agents have to do to get models photo shoots.
    • Enter Xavier Winslow, the guy who offered to represent her at her last photo shoot. She digs his card out of her wallet and gives him a call.
    • They meet at Starbucks and he tells her she can do runway if she loses weight and gets breast implants.
    • Kendra says she wants them, but her parents don't want her to have a boob job. He tells her he'll convince them.
    • Xavier comes to her house to meet her mother, and charms her with his hotness (read: sleaziness), and just like that, Cara's got herself a new agent.
    • On the way out the door, Xavier hands her a bottle of Meridia diet pills.

  • Chapter 19

    Sean

    • Sean tells us he's been masturbating since he was eleven, he used to do it every morning, and it was easy before steroids. Thanks for the TMI, Sean.
    • He's been thinking about testing the Viagra solo, but he doesn't want to waste a pill—he wants to save it for Cara.
    • Cara's got a lot going on, what with homework and prom committee and the spring musical and all. She did promise to come to his baseball game today, though.
    • When he gets to the field, he notices that there are scouts in the bleachers, who have radar guns to test pitching speed.
    • Also in the bleachers: Cara and Dani. He's got a lot of people to impress today.
    • When he gets up to bat, he gets a strike on the first pitch, but hits a short fly on the second; he gets to first base on an error.
    • Bobby's up next. He hits a triple, and Sean scores the second run of the game for the Grizzlies.
    • It's not his best game, and he's distracted by Cara and Dani, but when Cara smiles at him, he hits a grand slam.
    • They win the game, and everyone congratulates him for being a hero. Cara, however, leaves as soon as the game is over, and the scouts do, too.
    • Uncle Jeff finds him and says one of the scouts is an old friend from Louisville, and they're very interested, although he knows Sean has his heart set on Stanford.
    • Sean says he'll talk to them, although he knows he'll get into Stanford, too.
    • He calls Cara, and she picks up right away. He's surprised when she agrees to meet him.
  • Chapter 20

    Andre

    • Guess what? Andre's obsessed with (and conflicted about) Jenna.
    • It's a Saturday, and he's going with her to watch Kendra's cheerleading competition.
    • Usually Jenna waits for him outside her house when they have a date, but today she doesn't, and when he calls her phone, it goes to voice mail.
    • He has to go to the front door, where he meets her mom, and it's awkward, because he doesn't know her name and she doesn't tell him. Jenna's mom says she'll be ready in a minute.
    • Jenna comes stomping down the hallway, yelling at her mom that her dad can't be serious about this bridesmaid thing. Needless to say, she doesn't want to do it.
    • Andre says she should do it, because she'd look great in a bridesmaid's dress.
    • On the way to the competition, Jenna doesn't speak. Andre finally asks what her mom's name is, and she says it's Caroline Carruthers.
    • He asks if she's mentioned him to her mom, and she says no—she and her mom don't get along that well.
    • At the competition, Andre is surprised to find that the cheerleaders are really good athletes. Jenna says that's why he'll never see her cheer.
    • He asks if there's anything she's really committed to, and she says no, she's just living for the moment.
    • Andre tells her that if all she can give him is today, he'll take it. He tells her he loves her and she thanks him, but she doesn't tell him she loves him back.
    • Kendra's team comes out onto the gym floor, and Andre's shocked at how skinny Kendra is. He asks Jenna if Kendra eats.
    • Jenna says she only eats when she absolutely has to, and that you'd think her mom might do something, huh?
    • Andre checks out the cheerleaders and notices a cute black girl on the team. They're really good, and they win a trophy.
    • Afterward, Jenna introduces Andre to Kendra, Cara, and the black cheerleader, whose name is Shantell. Shantell gives Andre a dirty look, presumably because he's with a white girl.
  • Chapter 21

    Cara

    • Cara wants to break up with Sean. You saw that coming, though, right?
    • She's still not quite comfortable claiming the gay thing, though, and she decides that the only way to find out if she's a lesbian or not is to sleep with him.
    • He came over after his game the night before, and he was mad that she left right afterward. They got into a fight.
    • She knows she should have stayed, but she didn't want to deal with his questions about Dani.
    • All she told him was that Dani dug her out of a snowdrift.
    • Tonight she and Sean are going to the movies, and then (unbeknownst to him) to have sex.
    • When she leaves for the date, her parents are fighting about Conner. Her dad wants to know why Conner prefers to stay at Aspen Springs with the "lunatics" rather than being with his own family.
    • Well, duh.
    • Cara asks what will happen to Stanford if they end up on welfare due to the Aspen Springs bill. She's being sarcastic, of course—her dad's a rich lawyer—but at least it gets them to stop yelling at each other for a minute.
    • Her dad tells her she's going to follow in his footsteps and go to Stanford, Conner or no Conner.
    • Sean arrives to pick her up. When she gets into his truck, he kisses her. She feels nothing.
    • He drives past the movie theater and she asks where he's going. He says they're going to Chad's place to watch a movie instead. Chad's out of town, and they have the place to themselves.
    • When they get there, Sean pours two big glasses of booze and turns on a porno.
    • It's lesbian porn, and it turns her on. They get naked together on the couch.
  • Chapter 22

    Kendra

    • Kendra's loving the diet pills—she doesn't want to eat at all. Death? What's that?
    • Xavier's setting her up with runway gigs, which means she doesn't have to do the pageant thing.
    • He also says she doesn't need to do the college thing, because she's only got a few good years to be a runway model.
    • The nose job is only a couple of weeks away, and after it's done, Xavier's going to talk her mom into the boob job.
    • She's sure everyone will want her after she has the surgery. Maybe even Conner.
    • Speaking of Conner, she doesn't think about him every second anymore. Having Xavier around to stroke her ego helps.
    • She goes to lunch with her dad and Shiloh, his fiancée. Shiloh tries to ingratiate herself and asks Kendra what's good at the restaurant, but Kendra's only ordering some plain spinach and avocado.
    • Jenna's supposed to be there, but she hasn't shown up yet.
    • Kendra tells her dad she has a new agent and is about to be a runway model. Shiloh says she's in "the business," too—she designs costumes, so she works with models.
    • Her dad asks about college, and she says she's putting it off. He's not happy about that, but it's not like he's ever cared about her before.
    • When her dad goes to the bathroom, Shiloh tries to convince Kendra he does care. Then she asks if Kendra has an eating disorder. Kendra denies it.
    • The food arrives. Everyone has just started eating when Jenna walks in with Andre.
    • Her dad, the giant racist, freaks out.
  • Chapter 23

    Sean

    • Back to the sexytimes on Chad's couch.
    • Sean's telling Cara repeatedly how much he loves her, and there's some serious foreplay going on.
    • Also, the Viagra is working.
    • Just as they're about to do the actual deed, though, Cara says no.
    • Sean convinces himself she's actually saying now, not no, and has sex with her anyway, telling her again that he loves her.
    • She starts pounding on his chest, but he keeps going.
    • When it's over, she tells him he raped her (because he did) and runs to the bathroom.
    • His response is to grab her, pinch her cheeks, and tell her to shut the F up. Because he loves her and wanted to make her feel special and stuff.
    • (Not the way to do it, Sean.)
    • She washes herself off, and he tells her he'll take her home. He goes to wash himself off, and when he comes out of the bathroom, she's gone.
  • Chapter 24

    Andre

    • Andre's at the restaurant with Jenna's dad, Kendra, and Shiloh, and things aren't going well. (Yes, that's an understatement.)
    • Jenna's dad is so mad he's actually spitting food, and Andre considers running, but Jenna drags him to the table. She tells her dad she's half an hour late because she had to change her tampon.
    • Shiloh tries to smooth things over by introducing herself to Andre, and Andre is polite in return.
    • Jenna's dad tells Andre he'd better get out of there. He even calls Andre "boy," because he obviously hasn't heard it's not the 19th century anymore.
    • Andre leaves, Jenna tells her dad off, and then she follows Andre out the door.
    • Andre's mad, but Jenna makes a joke about how she's breaking the cycle of hate by dating him.
    • He laughs and tells her she makes him crazy.
    • She gets in the car with him and runs her finger up his inner thigh.
  • Chapter 25

    Cara

    • It's been three days since Sean raped Cara. She's trying to figure out the line between "assault and temporary insanity."
    • After all, she was into it, for a minute. She's mad at both him and herself.
    • One thing's for sure: She's gay, although she hates labels.
    • The acceptance letter to Stanford came, which means she's going. She wants to celebrate with Dani, but she knows that if she sees her, she'll have to tell her what happened with Sean.
    • He's been texting her nonstop, apologizing and telling her he also got into Stanford.
    • She calls him and officially dumps him, and he yells at her, then starts sobbing.
    • She calls Dani and leaves a message. Then she checks her Facebook and sees that Sean's both messaging her and posting statuses calling her a b****.
    • His friends reply to Sean's status calling her a whore.
    • She doesn't reply. Instead, she falls into bed and tries to go somewhere else in her head.
  • Chapter 26

    Kendra

    • Kendra contemplates how Jenna came into the restaurant with Andre on purpose so she wouldn't have to deal with the Dad/Shiloh situation. Kendra has to admit it was pretty brilliant.
    • She's impressed by how Andre loves Jenna, and how he held his temper.
    • The nose job is the following Monday, and she's nervous, but Andre's mom has been really nice to her.
    • She goes online to read other people's nose job stories, and Bobby messages her to tell her to get on Facebook and look at the Sean drama.
    • It stresses Kendra out, which makes her hungry. She decides she can have three Jolly Ranchers if she goes for a bike ride after.
    • While she rides, she thinks about one time when she was having sex with Conner and he told her not to lose any more weight.
    • She passes out and falls off her bike. A woman stops to help her and call 911. Kendra says she's fine, though, and asks the woman to just take her home.
  • Chapter 27

    Sean

    • Sean thought Cara was "over it" when she finally called him, because in his world, girls just get over being raped.
    • She hasn't responded to any of the Facebook stuff—she's not responding at all—but at least he's managed to ruin her reputation.
    • He's having trouble focusing on school or baseball, but he knows he has to get it together with the baseball if he's going to be the best player in Grizzlies history.
    • He strikes out at his next game, though, and attacks the umpire. This means a likely little league suspension, and the umpire could press charges.
    • 'Roid rage, much?
    • Uncle Jeff follows him into the locker room and asks what happened. Sean blames it on Cara, because he can't blame it on steroids, and he says he and Cara are working through their problems.
    • Uncle Jeff says he might be able to pull some strings to get Sean out of trouble.
  • Chapter 28

    Andre

    • Andre contemplates race, and how messed up the United States still is.
    • Jenna tells him that when she went to visit her family in the South, she learned that they still had segregated schools.
    • Andre asks if her family has heard that it's the 21st century, and Jenna gives him the "breaking the cycle of hate" thing again.
    • Andre goes to dance lessons with Liana. She works him hard.
    • After practice, he goes out into the hall to dry off the sweat, and who should he see but Shantell, the black cheerleader who snubbed him.
    • She's a little friendlier when she realizes he can dance, but only a little—after all, he gets private lessons, while her family can only afford group lessons.
    • He tells her his family worked their asses off to become successful, and she can, too.
    • She says don't worry, she will.
    • He asks if they can be friends, and she tells him no, because he has bad taste in girlfriends.
    • As she walks away, he notices that she's hot, although she's no Jenna, whom he forgot to call.
    • Jenna's been calling him, and she's annoyed, so he tells her he's been working on college applications with his dad and that he'll come over as soon as he gets cleaned up.
    • He wonders why he can't tell the girl he loves about his other love: dance.
  • Chapter 29

    Cara

    • It's spring break, and Cara definitely needs a break. She's losing friends because they're taking Sean's side.
    • She also wants to spend some quality time with Dani, and maybe even open up to her in a way she never did with Sean—it's time to let someone see beneath the façade.
    • Tonight they have a date to a party, which is called A Queer Spring Break Party, and since she's going with Dani, it's Cara's coming-out party, too.
    • Cara gets dressed up all girly and goes to meet Dani at the Summit Sierra parking lot. She doesn't want to explain anything to her parents just yet.
    • They drive to the house near the UNR campus where the party is being held. As they arrive, a girl comes out the door and throws up Jell-O shots.
    • They go inside, where the other guests can't stop staring at Cara. She's not sure this is a positive thing.
    • One of the guests, incidentally, is Dani's ex Bianca, who's way more butch than Cara.
    • Dani kisses Cara, and Bianca comes up behind them and says she didn't know Dani had a taste for femmes.
    • Dani says she's not much into stereotypes, but she guesses Cara is femme. Cara gets mad, and as she walks away, Bianca calls her a fake.
  • Chapter 30

    Kendra

    • It's two more days until the nose job.
    • Kendra's having her usual fridge versus mirror battle. To make things more difficult, her mom just went grocery shopping and bought ice cream sandwiches and peanut butter.
    • There's a new installment of Scary Movie playing, but she doesn't want to go alone, and Jenna's busy. Plus, Jenna always wants to eat junk food at the movies, and Kendra doesn't need the temptation.
    • She decides to call Sean and see if he wants to go. He wants to know if she's setting him up, and she assures him she isn't.
    • She gets dressed up and heads out, but Patrick stops her—he wants to know if she's been in their medicine cabinet, because her mom's missing some prescription pills.
    • Kendra knows the pills were Xanax, and that Patrick prescribed them. She also knows she didn't take them. It must have been Jenna.
    • Patrick says he thinks it's time to call a family meeting. He also wants to know if Kendra has eaten anything that day.
    • She tells him she had oatmeal, which she didn't, but he lets her go after telling her there will be a family meeting at dinner.
    • She gets into her car and eats half a diet protein bar she has in the glove compartment, then puts the rest in her pocket to eat during the movie.
    • She gets to the theater, buys a ticket, and goes inside to wait for Sean.
    • Conner walks through the door with a group of people, presumably from Aspen Springs. It would seem he's on an outing from the mental hospital.
    • Kendra confronts him and says she heard he tried to kill himself.
    • He tells her he did, and that next time he'll have to try harder.
    • She tells him people care about him, that some of them even love him, and he apologizes.
    • Sean shows up. Kendra tells Conner to call her if he needs a good listener, and walks away.
  • Chapter 31

    Sean

    • It's been two weeks since the Cara thing went down (a.k.a. Sean raped her), and Sean thinks he should be over it by now, but he can't stop thinking about her.
    • His way of dealing with this is to work out more.
    • When Kendra calls and invites him to the movies, he's happy to get his mind off Cara. He also secretly hopes word will get back to Cara that he went out with her.
    • After all, he'd be really jealous if he found out she was seeing someone else.
    • He arrives at the theater and sees Kendra talking to Conner. He doesn't recognize the people Conner's with and wonders who they are.
    • Sean buys popcorn and Cokes. Kendra stares after Conner.
    • During the movie, she doesn't laugh or jump or seem to feel much of anything—she just stares at the screen.
    • After the movie, they talk about family dinners and proteins and carbs. She asks him if he can get her some steroids to help her lose weight.
    • He tells her she doesn't need it, but promises to ask Chad about it. After all, he needs a refill himself.
  • Chapter 32

    Andre

    • Andre's having breakfast with his parents, who want to know what's up with the college thing. After all, he graduates in nine weeks.
    • He didn't go look at schools in California with his dad, and his dad's not happy. His mom's not either, and they want to know his plan of action for his life, because that's totally something you know when you're in high school (not).
    • Andre spills it… well, sort of. He tells them he wants to go to art school and study design, though the whole truth is that he wants to take some time off and study theater and dance.
    • Anyway, he's got tickets to the ballet, and he's taking Jenna, who's just had the are-you-stealing-your-mom's-Xanax meeting.
    • She's wearing her usual very-revealing outfit and has a flask of peppermint schnapps, which she loves to drink with Xanax.
    • By the time they get to the ballet, a performance of The Little Mermaid, she's pretty messed up, and shortly thereafter, she's asleep.
    • At intermission, she wakes up and tells him ballet is boring. He tells her he loves it and is sorry she doesn't feel the same way.
  • Chapter 33



    Cara

    • It's time for Cara to come out to her parents. Well, almost.
    • On Easter Sunday, she goes to the Lutheran church with her parents, where she tries not to think about Dani in church.
    • The pastor gives a sermon about how Jesus died for our sins, despite our "lifestyles," and we should live free from judgment and sorry.
    • Too bad the other gay people at the Queer Spring Break Party were judgmental of her femme-ness.
    • Dani didn't mind, though. She told Cara they were just jealous, and after the party, they had sex in Dani's car in a parking lot.
    • By the way, Cara likes sex now.
    • Afterward, Cara told Dani everything that happened with Sean, and everything that happened with Conner, including how Conner was sleeping with his teacher.
    • Speaking of Conner, he comes to the church service with two Aspen Springs guys.
    • Cara's dad goes to shake his hand and say hello after the service. Cara tries to think of what to say and asks her mom, who's hanging back, if she's going to talk to him.
    • Her mom says she guesses that's what's expected of her.
    • Cara wonders whether her mom is more ashamed of her suicidal son or her (still closeted, for now) gay daughter.
  • Chapter 34

    Kendra

    • Nose job day, Shmoopers! Kendra's mom drives her to the hospital.
    • She's nervous, and she asked her mom for a Xanax the night before so she could sleep; her mom gave it to her.
    • A nurse comes to the waiting room to get her, and her mom signs the papers.
    • She puts on a gown, hairnet, and booties, and says hi to Dr. Kane (a.k.a. Andre's mom), who wheels her to the operating room to wait for the anesthesiologist.
    • Cheryl, the aforementioned anesthesiologist, comes in and sees that Kendra is severely underweight.
    • Cheryl goes to get Dr. Kane. When they come back into the room, Cheryl asks Dr. Kane how she didn't notice that Kendra was too thin for anesthesia.
    • She pulls Kendra's gown off her shoulders, and Kendra starts to shiver; Dr. Kane sees what's up and gets her a blanket.
    • Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on whether you're Kendra or not), Dr. Kane cancels the nose job. She offers Kendra some hot chocolate and tells her to get dressed and come to her office.
    • Kendra accepts the hot chocolate to make Dr. Kane and Cheryl shut up about the eating disorder thing.
    • When she goes to Dr. Kane's office, Dr. Kane has called in Kendra's mom—she's recommending inpatient treatment.
    • Kendra's mom says they can handle it at home. Kendra agrees, of course.
  • Chapter 35

    Sean

    • Sean's been asking around about Conner. Seeing him at the movies made Sean wonder exactly what's going on with him.
    • Bobby Duvall thinks Conner tried to kill himself.
    • Sean thinks that makes sense, given that Cara's crazy, too—so maybe if Cara got help for her craziness, she might come around and give him another chance.
    • But for now, it's spring break, and Sean's going skiing. Kendra wasn't available because of the nose job, so Sean invites Bobby.
    • Bobby's annoying, but he's a chick magnet, which means Sean might be able to hook up with a girl in Cara's absence. After all, he's still got some Viagra left.
    • Bobby's a better skier, and he teases Sean about having to take the slow chairlift instead of the fast one.
    • Sean gets furious, but he manages to keep it inside. He thinks he might need to lay off the steroids before he has a heart attack.
    • Then he sees Cara and Dani sitting on the lift, snuggling.
    • They get off the lift and Sean skis as fast as he can, trying to catch up to her. He doesn't know why he's doing it, really—he's stopped by her house a dozen times already, and she refuses to see him.
    • He and Bobby ski down a tough hill with a stand of trees. They see Cara and Dani in the little forest, kissing.
  • Chapter 36

    Andre

    • Andre tells us about his first sexual encounter, with a seventeen-year-old neighbor girl in Oakland when he was fifteen.
    • Since then, he's had sex with the aforementioned private school girls, but Jenna puts them all to shame. Part of the reason for that is that he's actually in love with her.
    • They have a date tonight, and he's looking forward to getting busy. First, though, he has to spend the afternoon helping Liana teach a dance workshop to underprivileged kids.
    • Andre dances a solo, and when he's done, he realizes Shantell is clapping for him.
    • The two of them divide the kids between them and teach a class. Andre realizes he loves working with kids.
    • After class, Shantell tells Andre that she doesn't want her compliment to go to his head, but he's an awesome dancer.
    • She asks how long he's been training, and he says it's been a year; he started right after his family moved to Reno.
    • Shantell asks if he's going to turn pro, and he says his parents would never let him because if he's a dancer, he won't make enough money.
    • Shantell gets angry and says it's not about money and that he shouldn't choose to waste his talent.
    • Andre likes Shantell more every time he sees her.
    • Liana overhears their conversation and tells Andre he should go to L.A. to try out for a new television dance show next month.
    • That would mean coming out about being a dancer, and Andre's not sure he's ready. He tells Liana he'll think about it, and she says he needs to make a decision soon so they can work on choreography.
    • Andre drives home thinking about Shantell and dance. However, he's still obsessed with Jenna, who still hasn't said she loves him back.
    • They're going to a party, and he plans to tell her he's a dancer.
    • He picks her up, and she's already been drinking. He says he wants to tell her something, and she says she has to tell him something first: His mom thinks her sister is anorexic.
  • Chapter 37

    Cara

    • Cara's reconsidering Stanford, because it means being far from Dani. They haven't talked about next year yet, but they're madly in love right now.
    • They're also madly in lust. Cara thinks about sex all the time.
    • Her phone rings, and she thinks it's Dani, but it's Sean. She doesn't answer.
    • He leaves a message telling her he saw her and Dani kissing, and that if she doesn't want him to tell her parents she's gay, she'd better pick up the phone. Oh, and by the way, he's outside her house.
    • She picks up and asks him why he can't just leave her alone. He calls her lots of homophobic names, but she says she doesn't know what he's talking about.
    • He tells her he saw her at Mt. Rose, and she tells him he needs help.
    • He says she's the one who needs help, but if she gets it, he'll take her back and he'll even let her see Dani on the side.
    • She tells him to find another girlfriend and hangs up on him. Then she calls Dani.
    • Dani doesn't answer her cell, so Cara calls her home phone.
    • Dani's dad answers and gives Dani the phone, but not before telling Cara he's heard a lot about her and would like to meet her.
    • Cara tells Dani what Sean just did and how she's afraid he'll tell everyone she's gay. Dani asks why that's a bad thing.
    • Cara apologizes, asks if she can see Dani, and heads over to her house. She meets Dani's dad, who then leaves to play golf.
    • Cara and Dani go to Dani's room and have sex.
  • Chapter 38

    Kendra

    • Patrick's threatening inpatient treatment if Kendra doesn't start eating—in fact, he wants to take her straight to Aspen Springs.
    • Kendra's mom talks him out of it and makes her promise to eat at least one thousand calories a day.
    • Kendra manages to eat two hundred and eighty-five calories of dinner.
    • She plans to work out more and ask Sean about steroids again. She can't do it at the moment, though, since Xavier's on his way to pick her up for an appointment.
    • His instructions? "Dress sexy as hell." Because that's totally how you get cast as a model for teen clothing.
    • He picks her up, and she explains what happened (or didn't happen) with the nose job.
    • He tells her she looks perfect just the way she is, and if she goes to treatment, they'll just make her fat. (What a scuzzball, right? Right.)
    • They go to the Atlantis, a fancy hotel/casino, where the audition is being held, and as they park, Xavier tells her to flirt with the casting director.
    • And by "flirt," he means, "sleep with him if necessary."
    • Kendra's uncomfortable, but she wants the job. She meets the casting director, Gilles, who immediately starts touching her.
    • She feels nauseated, but she lets him.
  • Chapter 39

    Sean

    • Sean follows Cara to Dani's house. The voice inside his head is telling him to.
    • That's right: He's started hearing voices. It's steroid psychosis, which is a thing; in fact, he's started arguing with the voice out loud.
    • He parks far enough away from Dani's house to remain unseen, then he watches Cara go in and Dani's dad go out.
    • The voice in his head is demanding to know what the girls are doing, so he sneaks up to Dani's bedroom window.
    • He can hear them having sex, and he looks into Dani's room just as Cara yells, "I love you."
    • The voice in his head tells him to take pictures, so he pulls out his phone and does just that.
    • He plans to use the pictures to get even.
  • Chapter 40

    Andre

    • Andre notices Jenna is "disintegrating." It started a week ago, after Kendra got the modeling job.
    • Kendra and her mom can't stop talking about it, and Jenna's disgusted that her mom's ignoring Kendra's eating disorder.
    • Andre tells Jenna she should be happy for Kendra, and Jenna gets angry.
    • Needless to say, it's not exactly the best moment to come out as a dancer.
    • Jenna tells Andre that her family never notices her unless she does something bad, like getting bad grades, at which point they freak out.
    • Andre says that if they're paying for Jenna's car insurance, she owes it to them to get good grades—after all, if she doesn't, it will cost more.
    • She says he's taking everyone else's side, and that he's just like her dad. Andre disses her dad (as well he should), and Jenna, surprisingly, stands up for him.
    • Andre thinks Jenna feels left behind because her dad's giving all his attention to Shiloh, which is why she can't accept Andre's love.
    • Their next date is to a jazz festival, where he finally tells her about the dance thing.
    • Jenna's no more into jazz than she is ballet, but she's into some guys nearby drinking beer, because they can buy it for her.
    • They buy her two, and she offers one to Andre, who refuses. Jenna drinks both.
    • Jenna says it's cool that he's a dancer, but she doesn't really care. What she cares about is scoring more beer, which she goes off to do.
  • Chapter 41

    Cara

    • It's a Sunday morning in late April, and Cara's mom sits her down and tells her Conner's coming for a visit; Cara is not to talk to him about suicide or Aspen Springs.
    • Cara's dad remains silent and stoic, as usual.
    • Cara remembers once when her dad tried to play Risk with her and Conner. Conner won, and her dad was half proud and half furious.
    • Her mom leaves the house, saying she'll be back with Conner in an hour.
    • Cara tries to talk to her dad. She tells him Kendra saw Conner at the movies with the Aspen Springs kids and asked about him—Cara wants to know how much of the real story she's allowed to tell.
    • Her dad says to tell people to mind their own business. After all, she's about to graduate and move away, so it won't matter to her what people think about Conner.
    • Cara thinks she might tell Kendra the truth anyway.
    • Conner and her mom get home. Conner looks at Mrs. Sanders's house and sees that it's empty. His mom asks if he honestly thought "that woman" would still live there.
    • Conner gets furious and asks what his mom did.
    • Cara, in her room, turns up her music so she doesn't have to hear them. She can still hear them.
    • Kendra texts her the photo of her with Dani, which is making the rounds, and Cara texts the photo to Dani, freaking out.
    • Dani writes back and says that (1) sexting is illegal, and (2) she guesses Cara's out now, huh?
  • Chapter 42

    Kendra

    • Kendra's shocked by the picture. She never suspected Cara was gay.
    • She can understand why Sean's mad, although she never expected him to go so far to get revenge.
    • Cara's reputation is pretty much trashed now—after all, Kendra says, nobody votes for gay people for homecoming royalty. She doubts Cara will even be able to go to prom.
    • In other news, she no longer has any energy, despite the diet pills Xavier's giving her.
    • Also, she's still sleeping with Gilles, and she hates it. But it only takes five or ten minutes, so she can deal—she only has to do it until her career takes off.
    • She's not going to prom either. She just doesn't feel like a kid anymore.
    • Jenna's going, though, and not with Andre. She's going with Bobby Duvall, though Andre doesn't know.
    • Jenna tries on a prom dress in her room, and Kendra tells Jenna it's wrong to go with Bobby. After all, Andre really loves her, and Kendra would give anything to have somebody love her like that.
    • Jenna says she's too young for real love, and besides, love is disposable. Just look at their mom, who left their dad after being married for twenty years.
    • Her mom overhears and starts crying. She tells them she left because their dad was drinking too much and sleeping with Shiloh.
    • So, that marrying-Patrick-right-away thing? She did it to provide for them. Oh, and by the way, Jenna looks beautiful in her prom dress.
    • Her mom walks out of the room and Jenna takes off the dress and puts her sweats back on.
    • Jenna tells Kendra she's only going to prom with Bobby so she can go. Besides, she says, Andre's too good for her. How could she possibly let herself love him back?
  • Chapter 43

    Sean

    • Sean's dreams—think: Stanford, Cara—are shattered, and in the meantime, he can't get the voice out of his head.
    • The words coming out of his mouth aren't even his own anymore.
    • He's taking a girl named Aubree to the prom because Kendra turned him down.
    • The voice in his head says Cara deserved what happened, and he tells the voice, out loud, to shut up.
    • He's spread the pictures of Cara all over the Internet, but Cara still won't talk to him at school; she just gives him dirty looks.
    • Anyway, it's prom night. Sean decides to lift some weights beforehand.
    • Just as he's going down to the basement, the cops show up at his house.
    • They want to know about the pictures he posted on the Internet. That's criminal trespass, and Cara has also reported that he's stalking her.
    • He denies it, but the cops take him to jail anyway. Aunt Mo says not to worry; she'll get him a lawyer and have him out in no time.
    • Sean talks to himself in the police car, and the cops ask who he's talking to.
    • They book him and take a blood sample, screening for diseases and drugs.
    • Sean asks what drugs they're screening for, then goes back to talking to the voice in his head.
  • Chapter 44

    Andre

    • It's Andre's eighteenth birthday, and he and Jenna are going to someone else's party.
    • While he's getting ready, his mom comes in and tells him his dad made a deposit in Andre's savings account. She tells him to use some of it for a splurge.
    • Also, his grandfather's been asking about his college plans, and his grandmother is dying of brain cancer.
    • Andre picks Jenna up. She's been drinking, of course—she's had a pint before they get to the party.
    • He asks her how she gets booze, and she tells him she gets random guys to buy it for her.
    • She's trashed when they arrive, and she walks over to some kids passing a blunt. She offers it to Andre and he declines.
    • The other kids start talking about the Sean/Cara drama, and Andre doesn't know what they're talking about, since he doesn't go to their school.
    • Andre goes to get beers from the keg. As he walks away, Bobby asks Jenna if Andre's the dancer, and says male dancers are gay.
    • Then he thanks Andre for letting him "have" Jenna at prom.
    • Jenna throws up.
  • Chapter 45

    Cara

    • Cara had to come out to her parents in order to file a police report against Sean. Dani convinced her that the best way to deal with the situation was to admit it happened.
    • Her parents were in her dad's office writing a letter when she told them.
    • Her mom told her it was probably just "experimentation" and that she shouldn't let her feelings for girls get in the way of a "normal" relationship.
    • She also told Cara to let the pictures (and the rape) go, because if she told, their reputation would be ruined. Gee, thanks, Mom.
    • Her dad supported her, however. He called a friend on the police force to take the report.
    • She snuck into his office after her parents went to bed and read the letter they wrote. It was to Conner, telling him to stay on track for graduation, because they've applied to colleges for him.
    • Cara knows that if she hadn't met Dani, she'd still be trying to please her parents, just like Conner's being pressured to do.
    • She gets an anonymous text telling her to stop ruining Sean's life—after all, he's going to Stanford in the fall.
  • Chapter 46

    Kendra

    • Kendra's trying to figure out what makes romantic relationships last; she decides it must be friendship.
    • If that's the case, her mom and Patrick will stay together, but her dad and Shiloh won't. Jenna and Andre have already broken up.
    • He called Kendra the day after it happened to tell her about Jenna's drinking.
    • Kendra doesn't know how to talk to Jenna about it, but she knows Jenna isn't the confident girl she pretends to be.
    • Shiloh's tried to talk to both of them about their issues, though. Today she was supposed to take both of them shopping for bridesmaid's dresses, but Jenna didn't show up, so now Kendra's in the store with her alone.
    • Kendra tries on a dress, and Shiloh tells her to look in the mirror and describe what she sees. Kendra says that Shiloh obviously wants her to say she's too thin, but Shiloh just says that what's missing from Kendra's life is love.
    • Kendra tells Shiloh that this is all her fault since if it weren't for Shiloh, her parents would still be married.
    • Shiloh says she didn't know Kendra's dad was married when they met. She didn't know until he told her his wife had left him.
    • Kendra's not having it. She tells Shiloh that her dad was an alcoholic who used to fly into drunken rages. Shiloh says he's not like that anymore, though.
    • Shiloh gets a phone call and tells Kendra they have to leave right then. Something's happened to Jenna.
    • Her mom and Patrick meet them at the hospital.
    • Jenna asked the wrong guy to buy her booze, and she's been raped and stabbed. She almost died, but a stranger found her and brought her to the hospital.
  • Chapter 47

    Sean

    • Uncle Jeff's lawyer got Sean out of jail, and he's going to Stanford, Cara or no Cara, restraining order or no restraining order.
    • He thinks Cara deserves revenge for what she's done to him. Specifically, she caused him five days of community service.
    • He's still hearing voices, and Chad is telling him to lay off the 'roids.
    • Sean plans to finish what he's got left and stop, hoping he'll still be good at baseball.
    • He's dating Aubree now, and she talks lots of smack about Cara. She says lots of people hang around Cara, but none of them really like her, because they know she'll never have their backs.
    • Sean's not sure how many people like Aubree either, but he likes sleeping with her, so whatever.
    • And guess what? It's Aubree who's texting Cara, using stolen phones.
    • When Sean and Aubree walk by Cara in the hallway, they make a point of being all over each other and, for good measure, they make gay jokes, too.
    • By lunch, everyone's talking about what happened to Jenna. When Aubree gives him the sordid details (which she somehow knows), the voice in Sean's head tells him that's what rape is, not what he did to Cara.
    • Sean yells at the voice to shut up, and Aubree's a little alarmed, but tells him crazy guys are hot.
  • Chapter 48

    Andre

    • Andre knows he has to forget Jenna to save his sanity, but he can't, especially after what happened to her.
    • He sits with her in the hospital. She apologizes to him.
    • She had five hundred stitches, so he tells her that his mom will help her with reconstructive surgery after her scars heal.
    • She asks what happened with his audition in Vegas. He danced with Shantell, and out of five thousand dancers, they were in the top one hundred—they scored a second audition in L.A.
    • As he's leaving, she tells him that not having any alcohol in the hospital is a drag, but the drugs are good.
    • Andre's not sure he's going to the audition. He still feels like he should do something more practical with his life.
    • Shantell's on him, though. She says that if he decides to leave dance for college, he may never get another chance.
    • He has practice with her right now, in fact.
    • As he's leaving the hospital, Jenna's dad comes in with Kendra. Andre tries to be civil, but Jenna's dad says this is all Andre's fault.
    • Wait, what? Oh, the parental denial is strong.
    • Kendra tells her dad that it is, in fact, his fault—if he hadn't left, Jenna wouldn't have gone wild.
  • Chapter 49

    Cara

    • Dani has taught Cara that life is all about possibilities and choices. Cara wants to make the choice to be her own person.
    • The (home) phone rings. Cara answers.
    • It's Conner's doctor. Conner is dead.
    • He killed himself by stepping off a cliff.
    • Her mom doesn't cry. She says someone has to stay calm and handle the details.
  • Chapter 50

    Kendra

    • Kendra gets the news of Conner's death from Cara; she was sitting by Jenna's bed at the time.
    • She wants to know why she couldn't love him enough to keep him alive, but she doesn't tell Cara that.
    • Cara tells her the wake is Saturday and asks her to let people know.
    • Her mom takes her to the wake in Reno, and on the way, Kendra asks her mom if anyone she loves has ever died.
    • Her mom says her first boyfriend died in a car accident. Kendra asks if the pain ever goes away, and her mom says it doesn't, though it does get better over time.
    • Kendra asks her mom if she ever thought about suicide. Her mom tells her that everyone thinks about it, but she could never do it, because too many people love her.
    • She reminds Kendra that people love her, too.
  • Chapter 51

    Sean

    • Bobby Duvall tells Sean about Conner's death.
    • Sean's going to the wake with Aubree, because Aubree says they have to.
    • Aubree = not very smart.
    • Sean sees Dani with Cara at the wake, and he wants to hold Cara, but knows he can't.
    • Aubree's not happy Sean's looking at Cara; she tells him it's inappropriate.
    • He sees lots of kids he knows, and one couple he doesn't.
  • Chapter 52

    Andre

    • Shantell brings Andre to the wake.
    • Andre sees Conner in the casket and thinks about all the things Conner will never do: get married, have kids, conquer his mental illness.
    • He knows he has to go see his grandma, tell her he loves her, and ask her if she ever had dreams she didn't fulfill.
    • He's determined to tell people he's a dancer.
    • He's also finding Shantell more and more attractive. Unlike Jenna, she's talented and driven.
    • The priest calls the young couple Sean just noticed to the front of the church. They introduce themselves as Tony and Vanessa.
    • They knew Conner at Aspen Springs. (Psst… They're the other characters from Impulse.)
    • Vanessa says that Conner couldn't be what everyone else expected, so he "chose the easy way out."
  • Chapter 53

    Cara

    • Cara says suicide is only the easy way out if you're the one who dies.
    • Tony says he and Vanessa loved Conner even when he wasn't achieving stuff, that they knew who he really was.
    • Conner, he says, felt dead inside when he played it safe. He was afraid not to, though.
    • He says that if you play it safe, you lose.
    • Tony goes to the casket, kisses Conner, and tells him he should have stuck around and proved everybody wrong.
    • Even Cara's mom starts crying.
    • Dani thanks Cara for taking a chance with her, and kisses her in front of everyone. And guess what? Cara's cool with it.
  • Chapter 54

    Kendra

    • Kendra's scared to look at Conner. She wonders if he could be faking his own death. (He's not, of course.)
    • She hasn't eaten since she got the news of his suicide, and she thinks about "death as a weight-loss tool" and laughs.
    • Her mom asks her if she wants to see Conner.
    • She manages to walk up to his casket, where she asks him if he'll remember her. Her mom says he will.
  • Chapter 55

    Sean

    • Sean wonders if people will remember him when he dies.
    • He says Tony wasn't entirely right. Sean takes risks, but they're calculated and goal-driven, and he feels dead inside anyway. Cara made him feel alive, though, and he wants to find a way to feel alive without needing someone else.
    • Getting into Stanford came close to making him feel that way.
    • It's time to get off the steroids, because he knows Stanford will drug-test him.
    • He sees Dani kiss Cara and feels jealous. Aubree says two girls kissing, especially at a funeral, is gross.
    • Sean decides to swear off girls as well as steroids.
  • Chapter 56

    Andre

    • Andre's tired of playing it safe, too. It doesn't matter what his parents and grandparents did; he has to follow his own path to happiness.
    • Jenna has to find a path to happiness, too, but Andre can't help her do it.
    • He decides to go to the second audition, but he and Shantell have to dance solos, so he needs to book some practice time with Liana.
    • The funeral ends. Shantell wants to say goodbye to Cara and her parents.
    • Andre asks if everyone in town knew Conner.
    • Shantell says nobody knew him, except Tony and Vanessa.
  • Chapter 57

    Cara

    • The wake is winding down, and the funeral mass and burial are the next day.
    • People come up to Cara to express their condolences, including Kendra, who looks like a skeleton.
    • Cara watches Kendra walk out with her mother and wonders if Kendra will be alive in a year.
    • Sean walks by with Aubree and smiles at Cara.
    • Tony and Vanessa are the last to talk to her. Cara thanks them for their eulogy.
    • Tony says they have something to tell her. Conner was on a wilderness challenge and seemed okay at first; he had stopped taking his meds.
    • On the last night of the challenge, they gave everyone letters from their family—they think the letter from his parents was what finally drove Conner over the edge.
    • Tony gives Cara the letter, which is folded into a paper airplane.