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The Lovely Bones | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • December 6, 1973

    Susie Salmon is murdered.

    Chapter 1
  • December 6, 1973

    Susie's soul enters heaven, brushing against Ruth Connors on the way.

    Chapter 2
  • December 9, 1973

    Susie's elbow bone is found.

    Chapter 2
  • December 15, 1973

    Susie's hat is found, covered with her DNA.

    Chapter 2
  • December 23, 1973

    Mr. Salmon and Mr. Harvey build a tent together. Mr. Salmon suspects Mr. Harvey of the murder.

    Chapter 4
  • Late summer, 1974

    In a cornfield, Brian Nelson, the boyfriend of Susie's friend Clarissa, beats up Mr. Salmon.

    Chapter 11
  • November 26, 1974

    Lindsey Salmon breaks into Mr. Harvey's house and finds evidence of Susie's murder.

    Chapter 14
  • Summer 1975

    Mrs. Salmon leaves her family. Grandma Lynn comes to stay.

  • December 1981

    The lost charm from Susie's bracelet is found near a girl's body in Connecticut.

    Chapter 16
  • June 1983

    Lindsey Salmon and Sam Heckler find an abandoned house near the place where Susie's body was buried.

    Chapter 17
  • Summer 1983

    Mr. Salmon has a heart attack. Mrs. Salmon moves back home.

    Chapter 18
  • Summer 1983

    Ray and Ruth visit the sinkhole where Susie's body is buried. Susie and Ruth exchange bodies.

    Chapter 21
  • The same day

    Susie (in Ruth's body) and Ray make love. Ruth and Susie return to their own bodies.

    Chapter 22
  • A couple of years later

    Lindsey and Sam are married and have a baby named Abigail Suzanne.

    Epilogue: Bones

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Prologue Susie Salmon, the narrator, draws attention to a snow globe on the desk of her father, Mr. Jack Salmon. The snow globe h... Read More
Chapter 1 Chapter 1 opens with an unusual revelation: "My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I... Read More
Chapter 2 The first section of this chapter depicts Susie's heaven—her Vietnamese-American roommate, Holly, and the duplex the two... Read More
Chapter 3 From heaven, Susie recalls the day of her murder, when her escaping soul brushed by her classmate Ruth Connors and reach... Read More
Chapter 4 The first half of this chapter shows the gruesome way Mr. Harvey disposes of Susie Salmon's dismembered body. He's had a... Read More
Chapter 5 Lindsey feels as if everyone who looks at her only sees Susie Salmon. She herself can't help seeing Susie when she passe... Read More
Chapter 6 Two weeks before she dies, Susie Salmon is late to school. She sneaks in through the back door to the school's stage, wh... Read More
Chapter 7 Four-year-old Buckley Salmon and his friend Nate are heading up the stairs to the Salmons' second floor when Buckley sud... Read More
Chapter 8 This fragmentary chapter gives readers a look at Mr. Harvey's history and the way he thinks. For three months after murd... Read More
Chapter 9 Things become a little better for the Salmons when Grandma Lynn, Mrs. Salmon's mother, arrives for Susie Salmon's memori... Read More
Chapter 10 Several months have passed since Susie Salmon's funeral. It's summer now. Lindsey, Samuel Heckler, and Ruth are attendin... Read More
Chapter 11 It's late summer of 1974, and Susie Salmon's case is no nearer to being solved. The lack of progress is tremendously fru... Read More
Chapter 12 Mr. Salmon is taken to the hospital, his kneecap shattered. He will never walk normally again. At the Salmons' hou... Read More
Chapter 13 With the start of the new school year, the members of the Salmon family take on new roles yet again. At school, Lindsey ... Read More
Chapter 14 Lindsey cases Mr. Harvey's house for a week before she breaks in, and he knows she's doing it. He's already itching to c... Read More
Chapter 15 Chapter 15 opens with a description of Mr. George Harvey as a child, spending afternoons with his mother. It's immediate... Read More
Chapter 16 On the anniversary of Susie Salmon's death, friends and neighbors gather in the cornfield for an impromptu memorial. Ray... Read More
Snapshots When Susie Salmon took pictures on Earth, she loved the way photos "rescued the moment" by "stopping and holding" time. ... Read More
Chapter 17 Lindsey is now 21. Although Susie Salmon no longer mourns the fact that she'll never get to do the things Lindsey does, ... Read More
Chapter 18 Ruth now lives in New York City, where she takes frequent long walks as a form of pilgrimage. Whenever she passes a plac... Read More
Chapter 19 When Mrs. Salmon arrives for work at the winery, she finds a message about an emergency at home. She finally reaches the... Read More
Chapter 20 When Chapter 20 opens, several things are happening at once. Mr. Harvey walks toward the Connecticut shack where he murd... Read More
Chapter 21 Susie Salmon visits Ray Singh, whom she has never stopped loving. He's about to drive Ruth to visit the sinkhole where S... Read More
Chapter 22 As Ruth collapses, Susie Salmon's soul falls out of heaven—and into Ruth's body. She realizes she's lying on the ground ... Read More
Chapter 23 Ray begins to review Ruth's journal, reading her descriptions of all the murders her second sight has allowed her discov... Read More
Epilogue: Bones Susie Salmon is now in a different, larger, even more beautiful heaven than her original private heaven. The souls here ... Read More
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