Susie Salmon is killed on December 6, 1973 by her family’s neighbor, George Harvey. Mr. Harvey lures Susie into a hole he dug in the cornfield. When she tries to leave he rips off her clothes, gags her with her hat and rapes her. He kills her, cuts her up, and puts her in a bag that he takes with him before he fills in the hole. He puts the bag with her body in a safe and takes the safe to the local sinkhole.
When Susie’s soul was leaving the earth, she accidentally touched a girl named Ruth Connors. Because of this experience, Ruth becomes fascinated with Susie’s life and her death. Not long after Susie’s death, Mr. Harvey decides to build a tent outside of his house. Jack Salmon sees him and offers to help. Jack gets the feeling that Mr. Harvey knows something about Susie’s murder, and suspects him. He tells Len Fenerman, who goes to Mr. Harvey’s house to interview him but does not find him suspicious.
After Susie leaves them, Abigail and Jack stay together in the house and openly talk about Susie when they think of her. Susie goes to a new place in heaven where she has things she never dreamed of in her first, smaller, heaven. There, Susie watches Mr. Harvey die by falling into a ravine. He was never caught. Lindsey and Samuel get married and have a daughter they name Abigail Suzanne. Susie knows she never really grew up but feels she almost has.
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