Summary: Chapter 5
On Monday morning, Lacey Pemberton, much to Quentin and Ben’s astonishment, approaches Quentin and begins to ask him questions about Margo. Lacey tells them that contrary to Margo’s belief, Lacey did not know that Jase and Becca had been sleeping together. Lacey says that she even broke up with her boyfriend because her boyfriend knew about Jase and Becca and didn’t inform her. Ben’s ears perk up when Lacey mentions that her now ex-boyfriend is no longer her prom date. Lacey suspects that Margo may be in New York, because Margo mentioned something about New York being the only place in America that appealed to her. Quentin leaves so that Ben can have the chance to ask Lacey to the prom. Word has gotten out that Quentin arranged for Jase to pay back the kids whose bikes were destroyed, and people thank Quentin for it.
At lunch, Ben tells Lacey about Margo’s record collection, which surprises Lacey because Margo never mentioned this. Lacey says that she’ll ask her cousin in New York to post flyers in record stores on the off chance that Margo visits one. Ben and Lacey start talking to each other about prom details, because, much to the surprise of Quentin, she Lacey accepted Ben’s invitation to prom.
Quentin keeps looking through Leaves of Grass throughout the school day, but still can’t deduce anything related to Margo’s whereabouts. After Ben and Radar come back from band practice, and Ben has gloated about scoring a prom date with Lacey, they return to the highlighted passages of Margo’s book. Radar points out that the lines “Unscrew the locks from their doors! / Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!” is the only one that is highlighted in a different color than the rest. Ben suggests that the line isn’t a metaphor at all, but literal instructions, and that they should unscrew the lock on Margo’s door.
Summary: Chapter 6
After school, Quentin, Ben, and Radar are again let in to Margo’s house by Ruthie. They unscrew Margo’s bedroom door, but don’t discover anything, and leave disappointed. Back at Quentin’s house, while they play video games, Ben suggests that Quentin fly to New York, find Margo, and ask her to the prom. Quentin says that he can’t because he has a French quiz the next day. Later, he recalls one of his mother’s patients, a nine-year-old whose father died and who drew circles on paper at all times of the day in order to cope through routine and repetition. Quentin begins to wonder if the comfort he finds in routine is taking him away from finding Margo.
Summary: Chapter 7
Quentin tells his parents about the Woody Guthrie poster and the Walt Whitman book. Quentin’s parents tell him that Margo has to take care of herself and that he should focus on his own life, but Quentin can’t help thinking about her. Ben calls to chat about Lacey’s prom shoes. This makes Quentin feel bored, but then glum, because even though he doesn’t want to go to prom, he does love the idea of finding Margo in time for prom. Quentin suddenly has the thought that since Margo’s clues were intended for him, the door in the clues must be his own door. He unscrews his bedroom door and finds a slip of paper with Margo’s handwriting on it that reads “8328 bartlesville Avenue,” an address that is about thirty-four miles away. Quentin calls Ben and Radar, and they agree to play sick and skip school the next day so that they can scout the location.
Summary: Chapter 8
In the morning, Quentin makes himself throw up so that he can convince his mom that he’s sick. Ben and Radar come over, and they all drive out to the address, which turns out to be a abandoned minimall in an abandoned subdivision, or, as Quentin’s mom calls it, a “pseudovision.” Quentin thinks to himself that the mall reeks with the smell of death, and is more panicked and fearful than he has ever been in his life of what he might find. Ben suggests that they call the police, but Radar and Quentin agree that they must go into the minimall themselves first.