48 pages • 1 hour readEmily Giffin
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Content Warning: This section of the guide discusses the novel’s depiction of non-consensual sharing of sexual photos, sexual assault, and attempted suicide.
Giffin’s novel takes place during a time when people are easily accessible through technology. She illustrates how conveniently people can make assumptions about others, and how technology provides ambiguity. For example, when Finch takes pictures of Lyla at Beau’s party, he effortlessly blames Polly. He can easily lie that she stole his phone, causing the honor board to rule there “wasn’t enough proof” (325) to place all the blame on Finch. It may be clear to the reader and the characters involved, such as Lyla and Polly, that Finch is lying. However, Giffin uses technology, specifically social media, to depict how easily one can hide from the consequences of their own actions.
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The characters’ understanding of truth warps. They attempt to maintain their trust in others while also bringing the truth to the forefront. When Lyla learns about the picture, she feels as though she could move past the turmoil that comes with it. Her crush on Finch, “the boy [she’d] been obsessed with for going on two years,” allows her to forgive his actions (70).
By Emily Giffin