Amy and Julia had been friends since 6th grade, when Julia moved into their town. Amy, almost 6 feet tall, always felt out of place, until the outgoing Julia befriended her and swept her into a more exciting life. By the end of sophomore year, they remained best friends, and Amy had become much more confident.
One night at a party, however, Amy saw that her friend's boyfriend Kevin was cheating on her again, and set Julia up to walk in on them. She only wanted to open her friend's eyes to the pointlessness of continuing to forgive Kevin, and was shocked when Julia broke down in tears. Amy regretted her plan, and promised Julia that everything would be all right- that they just had to leave, and she would feel better. Julia drove, despite how upset she was, because Amy drank a lot at parties. She quickly got into an accident. Amy escaped barely harmed, but Julia was killed.
The story starts 75 days after the accident. Amy is about to return to school after a time spent in rehab, recovering from a dependence on alcohol. The memory of the crash continues to haunt her, and she frequently reminds herself of how she believes the accident to be her own fault for making Julia drive. She cites guilt as the only thing that kept her from killing herself after the funeral. Amy says, "I didn't because living with what I'd done to you was what I deserved. I deserved to be alone" (61-62). Amy's school life is not much better, although her grades improve dramatically because she spends so much time studying. She cannot bring herself to talk to any of her old friends, because it is too painful for her, and she is sure that they must also blame her for Julia's death. She spends much of her time alone, although she does eventually start talking to an old friend from elementary school, and a boy she once met at a party who understands her grieving.
The author does not ultimately give a moral to the story, perhaps as a way of illustrating the senseless pain of losing someone. Amy has made steps towards a better future, but still spends most of her time grieving for her friend. She writes, "Wherever I go, I'll always see you. You'll always be with me. And there's no happy ending coming here, no way a story that started on a night that's burned into my heart will end the way I wish it would. You're really gone, no last words, and no matter how many letters I write to you, you're never going to reply" (176). The novel ends almost half a year after the accident.
1) Amy dealt with many of her emotions about her friend's death by writing to her in letters. Do you think this was an effective method of grieving, or do you think it prevented her from moving on?
2) Amy spends a lot of time thinking about things she should have done differently when Julia was still alive, like telling her about a boy she liked. She also must come to terms with mistakes Julia made that had harmed her. Amy seems reluctant to admit that Julia ever did wrong. Do you think that working through these things is more beneficial than remembering Julia in the best light?