Study Guide

Where Things Come Back Chapter 17

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Chapter 17

This May Be the End of the World

  • In mid-July, Cullen's dad suddenly develops an interest in where Cullen is going to college. Obviously, that's not high on Cullen's list of priorities since he's kind of preoccupied with other things, like the fact that his little brother is still missing.
  • Cullen drives over to Ada's house, but she's not there, so he goes over to see Lucas and complains about how Ada finds more appeal in Russell when he's paralyzed than Cullen when he's able-bodied.
  • The next day, his mom comes home from Aunt Julia's and says that she's not talking to Julia anymore—when Cullen asks why, she says that Aunt Julia told her that she's been imagining Oslo and Gabriel up in heaven together as babies.
  • After the nine-week mark of Gabriel's disappearance, his mom starts to stop doing everything. She stops going to the store, showering, brushing her teeth, answering the phone, working—you name it, she quits it. It looks like she's pretty much given up on life.
  • Lucas tries to convince Cullen to run in the Woodpecker Relay, but he refuses. When Lucas keeps pressing him, Cullen explodes and tells him that he doesn't want to act like everything is normal—he wants to mourn the fact that his brother is missing.
  • After ten weeks, his mom moves into Gabriel's room and keeps the door closed most of the time. It turns out she's spending all of her time engrossing herself in the things that Gabriel loved, like his music and his books.
  • Ada finally agrees to meet up with Cullen again, although they do so at a coffee shop instead of in private. He demands to know what's going on with Russell, and she says that he needs her.
  • She holds herself accountable for his accident (she is the black widow, after all) and says that she thinks Cullen is just in love with the idea of being with her. She doesn't want to be with him anymore.
  • Three days later, Cullen sees Lucas again and he's got a huge bruise on his jaw. When Cullen asks what happened, he says that he went up to John Barling and socked him in the face. He did it for Cullen. Aw, how sweet.
  • Cullen spends a lot of his time alone, thinking about Gabriel walking through the door and coming home. He imagines all sorts of scenarios, though lots of them involve zombies. 

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