Sycamore Summary & Study Guide

Chancellor, Bryn
This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Sycamore.
This section contains 548 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Sycamore Summary & Study Guide Description

Sycamore Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Sycamore by Chancellor, Bryn .

This study guide was created using the following version of this book: Chancellor, Bryn. Sycamore: A Novel. Harper Collins. 2017

• The chapter numbers in this study guide are an editorial choice for ease of study. In the book, italicized chapter titles represent events that occur before the disappearance of Jess.

Sycamore, a novel by Bryn Chancellor, tells the story of a small Arizona town from the perspective of Jessica Winters, a teenage girl who goes missing. The residents try to sort out what happened to Jess after her bones are found nearly twenty years later.

Through flashbacks, the reader learns of Jess’ relationships with her friends and fellow students, as well as her interactions with Adam Newell, the father of Jess' best friend, Dani. Jess and her mother Maud had moved to Sycamore after Jess’ parents divorced. Jess sneaked out of the house at night to explore the town and its environment. She spent her time alone thinking about her life. Then, Jess had gone missing.

Over the years, rumors and speculation plagued Adam Newell. Adam was suspected of killing Jess because he and Jess had forged a close relationship during which Adam admitted to loving Jess. He had even asked her to run away with him. However, Jess rejected Adam and began a sexual relationship with Warren, one of her classmates.

Warren fell in love with Jess. While Jess told Warren she had similar feelings, Jess understood that she was using Warren as a surrogate for Adam. When the truth about Jess and Adam's relationship came out, Dani severed her friendship with Jess, even though she did not want to do so. When Jess went missing, Dani regretted how she treated her friend.

In the present, Laura Drennan moves to town and finds Jess’ bones while out on a run. As the locals wait for Jess’ bones to be positively identified, they continue to mourn and accept what happened. Finally, they are getting answers to questions long asked. Esther Genoway, a local bakery owner, was once Jess’ high school teacher. Esther has befriended Maud over the years and finds herself trying to reconcile her past with her present. She engages in a relationship with a former student after Jess is found.

With Jess’ bones positively identified, the town arranges a memorial service. Dani, Jess’ best friend and Adam’s daughter, struggles with the promise of her youth and how she never left Sycamore. Dani’s high school boyfriend Paul returns for Jess’ memorial. Paul’s wife has recently died of cancer and he is traveling home with his young son. The town comes together for the memorial and to support Maud.

Before the memorial, Maud receives a call from Adam. He wants Maud to know that he truly did love Jess and that he did not do anything to hurt her. After the memorial, Maud thinks about how best to mark her daughter’s life. Maud does not want the town to be part of Jess’ burial. Instead, Maud takes Jess’ ashes to Mexico, where they once went on vacation together. Maud sends Jess’ ashes into the sea and finds herself on the balcony of the hotel finally feeling a sense of freedom from the oppression of not knowing what happened to her daughter.

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This section contains 548 words
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