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Chapter 1: Binny’s first day of school. “But this was a new year, a new school, a new everything. She had a clean slate, and she would be as normal as she possibly could be. She would be so normal she would just disappear altogether; no one would ever think of giving her a second glance.”
Chapter 2: Binny tries to fit in; we meet her family. “It was important to fit in if you wanted friends. Trying to look and act the same way as your peers wasn’t necessarily following the crowd; it was just proving to the crowd that you were making an honest effort to get along with them, and hoping they would recognize your efforts and include you.”
Chapter 3: Binny’s new group of friends is introduced. We meet Jason. He is being made fun of by her group of friends because it is rumored he is gay.
Chapter 4: We learn of Binny’s passion for dance. “At dance class, you didn’t have to say anything with your mouth. All you had to do was feel your feet, your hands, and your shoulders, keep your butt tucked in, and listen to the music pull everything out of you.”
Chapter 5: Binny has lunch with her new group of friends. “She had enough experience to know the girls could flip your social life on or off like a light switch. They were like cannibals, unafraid to eat their own kind if it meant fattening themselves up.”
Chapter 6: We get to know Binny’s brother James better. “He had the personality of a lead husky on a dog sled. He was determined, thrilled with risk, and could bark down any foe simply by refusing to relent during an argument.” Binny’s older sister is helping the two with chores and Binny asks for advice about going to a party.
Chapter 7: Binny gets dropped off at the party. Thinking she is someone else, Jason throws an egg at her head. “Jason and Binny looked at each other, then burst into a fit of giggles. Binny put her hand on his shoulder to steady herself, and they laughed until their stomachs hurt. It was a really good hurt.” Thus begins their friendship.
Chapter 8: Binny and Jason leave the party without going in. They go to Binny’s house. After being accused of being drunk by Binny’s parents, Binny and Jason order Chinese takeout and play Mario Kart.
Chapter 9: Binny hasn’t done the chemistry homework her friends usually copy, and they are distraught. Jason lets Binny copy his, but Binny won’t share; this causes more strife among the group. Binny decides Jason has been more of a friend than her group and joins his lab table. “He treated her like she was one hundred percent real and valid.”
Chapter 10: Binny is confronted at lunch by her group of friends for switching lab tables in chemistry. Kristy stands up to Liza on her behalf. “She hoped they all would forget the whole ordeal, that maybe things would just get back to normal so they could hide their dislike for each other peaceably.”
Chapter 11: Binny goes to the dance studio, and we learn of her crush on her dance instructor, David. “Really, he could say anything to her, and it would lighten the burden of being herself.” David invites her to take the ballroom classes they are about to offer. James agrees to drive her to the classes in exchange for doing his chores and making him a pan of brownies.
Chapter 12: The students are excited and anticipating the homecoming dance. “Spring may mark the beginning of romance in the woods, but for the students of Sycamore High, the homecoming dance was where love began.” Binny’s friends all have dates, and she agrees to go dress shopping with them.
Chapter 13: Binny enjoys her new lab partners in chemistry but feels bad for bailing on Kristy. Binny, Kristy, and Sam agree to meet at the beach to do the homework together. Jason agrees to be Binny’s dance partner for ballroom classes. Binny feels bad for lying to Kristy about her mom and wonders if God will give her cancer for her sin. “Sometimes, when it came to God, Binny felt like she could never win. There was always some way He had her pinned to the wall.”
Chapter 14: Binny wakes to find her dad paying bills, and she feels bad that the cost of dance lessons is such a burden for her family. “Without dance, she didn’t know how she would ever control the pain of all her inside parts that hurt so much.” She and Jason go to the studio for their first ballroom dance lesson.
Chapter 15: Jason ends up going dress shopping with Binny and her friends. Her friends are complaining about their bodies and being fat. “In the teen world, this was proper etiquette.” Binny tells her friends, “‘I think we all look beautiful.’” Jason is accepted in the group. “To the mirror, they must have looked like the best of friends.”
Chapter 16: Binny gets home from shopping and finds her mother resting. Binny worries about her mother dying. “If Binny found her mother dead she knew she would stand there for the rest of her life because it was the last place she had seen her. It would be too hard to move because it would be like moving on, and she knew that she would never move on.”
Chapter 17: In exchange for going to ballroom lessons, Jason asks Binny to come to his book club. “‘Why do you even have a book club? My mom doesn’t even have a book club, and she used to teach English.’” Jason invites the friends from dress shopping to join. “She turned back to her food and saw Sam angrily watching Jason. ‘Fag!’ He spit out the word like it was rancid.”
Chapter 18: Binny is getting picked up after school by her brother when she sees Jason being followed by Joe. “‘Hey! Faggot! I’m talking to you!’” Joe and Jason get into a physical fight. James gets out of the car to defend Jason and ends up hurting Joe. James calls Joe’s mom. “‘Hello, Ma’am. Your son got in a fight. He is outside the back doors of the high school by the student parking lot. He needs you to come pick him up.’” James and Binny leave, Binny promising never to tell their mother what just happened.
Chapter 19: Joe isn’t at school, with rumors flying that he got hurt dirt biking. Binny is afraid that Jason won’t want to go to ballroom class with her following the fight with Joe and James. He agrees to go. “But Binny still had Jason, and now she realized that this was the one friend she really wanted.”
Chapter 20: Binny is again concerned about her family’s ability to afford continued dance lessons. Jason and Binny attend ballroom class. “They weren’t just doing the right steps; they were dancing. There was a huge difference between the two.”
Chapter 21: Jason finds Binny at the homecoming dance and wants to show off their newly learned dance moves with her. Binny refuses. “‘Dance is my life, okay? I don’t do it so I can come here and show it off to people at really stupid parties!’” Binny goes into the lunchroom and finds James and Betsy sitting at a table. “Binny knew that there was something between her and James that resisted separation, like a stiff rubber band that wouldn’t be stretched. It was her worst fear that someday that rubber band would snap and leave her a lone end instead of part of a circle.” James, Betsy, and Binny go out for ice cream.
Chapter 22: Binny and her family attend church services on Sunday. Binny meets up with her friends from her former school, including her old boyfriend Bryan. “Amanda came to join the circle; she squeezed in next to Bryan, so close that their shoulders touched, and gave him a playful nudge. Binny didn’t glance; all of it was there in her peripheral vision, but that is where it had to stay.” Binny’s mother collapses following the service and an ambulance is called.
Chapter 23: Binny’s mom insists that everyone overreacted and that she does not need an ambulance. “I didn’t need an ambulance! I just tipped over. My gosh, do we need to call 911 every time someone tips over?” Binny’s parents let the ambulance go and get in the car with Binny and James. “Dad grunted. ‘Everyone should know it’s only an emergency if a person’s eyes roll into the back of their head.’ James and Binny looked at each other, then burst out laughing. Then all four of them were laughing.”
Chapter 24: Joe is back to school following his “accident.” “His face clouded. ‘I won’t be able to play basketball for another month. At least.’” Binny decides to skip classes and read the book for Jason’s book club.
Chapter 25: Jason doesn’t show up for book club. Binny goes looking for him and sees a girl everyone calls Cutter Cry Baby in the hall. Binny finds Jason sitting on the bathroom floor, his head dripping wet. “Jason slightly shifted on his crossed legs and lifted up his shirt. ‘FAIRY’ was written in big black letters across his stomach. … ‘I’m gay.’ Jason cried even harder, falling over onto Binny’s lap and burying his face in her legs. She looked down at Jason, his wet hair soaking her jeans. Sometimes sadness was so deep it seeped out and lodged into the people around you.”
Chapter 26: Binny learns her mother needs a double mastectomy. Binny goes to her room and finds mirrors, a ballet bar, and a note from her dad explaining that they can no longer afford dance lessons. Binny wishes her sister were home. “Because even if you were super strong, even if you could handle anything, when something like your mom dying came along, with an undercover war at school on top of it, you just wanted your sister.”
Chapter 27: It is Halloween. “Jason had dressed in a lime green t-shirt with the sleeves cut off in a zig-zag pattern, a pair of brown capris cut off the same way, Peter Pan shoes, a rainbow hat, and a pair of bright yellow butterfly wings that flopped open and closed behind him. He was a fairy.” Binny’s class is studying Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Binny asks her teacher, “Do you think gays are still prejudiced against?” Her teacher’s response included the comment, “It’s not really the same issue if you have a choice.”
Chapter 28: James gives Jason and Binny a ride home. “Jason sat in the backseat with his wings folded in his lap, looking forlorn. Binny turned to see Jason over the back of her seat. ‘Things will be back to normal on Monday.’ He scoffed. ‘Things have never been normal.’” James offers to pay for the ballroom class the next day. “But even now, even with James’ generosity, Binny couldn’t smile.”
Chapter 29: Binny and Jason are at ballroom class. Binny questions Jason and asks why he can’t just pretend to be normal. “He leaned in and whispered, ‘because I am gay, okay, because even when I pretend I’m not, I still am.’” Binny tells Jason she won’t be taking any more dance classes. “‘You’ll still be a dancer, Binny. It’s what you were born to do.’”
Chapter 30: Binny shares her thoughts about To Kill a Mockingbird. The family gets a letter from Rebekah saying she will be coming home. “Mom put Rebekah’s letter up on the fridge, like it was something she had colored during kindergarten.”