Weeks have passed and school has begun. Anne and Diana walk to school together every day down beautiful roads with trees and flowers all around. At the school in Avonlea, there are students in many grades, from children Anne’s age through teenagers studying for entrance exams to Queen's teacher’s college. Anne has a good time at school; she makes friends easily and does fairly well academically.
On the way to school about three weeks into the school year, Diana tells Anne that Gilbert Blythe will be coming back to school. Gilbert is a handsome 13-year-old boy who likes to tease the girls at school. Talking about Gilbert gets Diana and Anne onto the topic of boys and crushes. When boys have crushes on girls at the school in Avonlea, they write their names together on the wall of the school’s porch. Diana tells Anne that a boy named Charlie Sloane may write Anne’s name on the wall, but Anne says she doesn’t want her name written up. Diana says that Gilbert will be studying the same material as Anne since he had to miss school for almost three years when his father was sick. In school, Anne sees Gilbert for the first time. When he catches her looking at him, he winks. Anne thinks that he is handsome but has bad manners. That afternoon, Gilbert tries to get Anne to look at him while she is lost in daydreams. To get her attention, he says “Carrots! Carrots!” (p. 140.) Anne immediately springs up, yells at him, and smashes her slate on his head. When the teacher comes over, Gilbert says that it was his fault, but Anne is still punished by being made to stand in front of a message reading “Anne Shirley must learn to control her temper” (p. 141) for the rest of the school day. After school, Gilbert tries to apologize to Anne, but she ignores him.
The next day, the teacher institutes a new rule at the school that students must be back in their seats after lunch break by the time the teacher enters the classroom. The teacher sets this rule because the students like to wander and climb trees during the lunch break and often return late. On the day the new rule begins, the students all have to run back to the school after lunch to try to get there on time. Anne is one of the last to arrive back in the school, along with many boys who were climbing trees. The teacher makes an example of Anne, punishing her by making her sit next to Gilbert. Anne sits down next to Gilbert, puts her head in her arms on the desk, and stays that way for the rest of the school day. Gilbert tries to slip her a candy heart, but Anne drops it on the ground and crushes it with her foot.
At the end of the school day, Anne takes all of her belongings from the school with her, telling Diana that she will not be coming back. Diana tries to convince her to come back to school, but Anne is stubborn. When Anne gets home, she tells Marilla that she will be learning her lessons at home from now on. Marilla objects at first, but then she decides not to press the matter. She decides to talk to Mrs. Rachel Lynde about it.
Marilla goes to Mrs. Rachel’s house; surprisingly, Mrs. Rachel says that she should let Anne not go to school for a little while. Mrs. Rachel says that this will give Anne time to cool down rather than get in more trouble, and she won’t be missing much anyway because the teacher isn’t very good. Marilla lets Anne stay home, and Anne behaves very well, learning her lessons, doing her chores, and playing with Diana after school. Diana tries to get Anne to forgive Gilbert, but she will not budge. Nevertheless, Diana and Anne grow even closer; one night, Anne even cries to Marilla about the fact that someday, Diana will get married and leave her.
One day in October, Marilla tells Anne that she can have Diana over for tea, just the two of them. Anne is very excited because she finds this to be a mature responsibility. Marilla tells Anne that she can serve Diana raspberry cordial from the pantry along with some fruit and pastries. When Diana arrives, both girls are dressed in fancy clothes and try to talk to each other politely, which comes across as very boring and silly. Soon, however, they are chatting away like the young girls they are. When Anne goes into the pantry to find the raspberry cordial, she doesn’t see it immediately, but eventually, she finds it tucked away on the back of a shelf. She brings it out and serves it to Diana, though she doesn’t drink any herself. Anne tells Diana about some mistakes she has made while trying to learn to cook recently, including forgetting to put flour in a cake, all the while serving Diana two more glasses of raspberry cordial. Suddenly, Diana starts to feel sick. She walks in an unsteady and dizzy manner and says that she has to go home. Anne is very disappointed and tries to get Diana to stay for tea or a bit of lunch, but Diana goes home.
Two days later, Marilla sends Anne on an errand to Mrs. Rachel Lynde’s house. Anne comes back crying because she finds out that Mrs. Barry says Anne sent Diana home drunk. Mrs. Barry has also declared that Diana and Anne can never play together again. Marilla realizes that Anne didn’t give Diana raspberry cordial, but instead served her currant wine. Marilla says that she is the one to blame since the raspberry cordial wasn’t where she said it would be. Marilla suggests that Anne go apologize to Mrs. Barry and tell her what happened, and when Anne says that she is too scared, Marilla says she will go. Marilla returns to Green Gables shortly thereafter, saying that Mrs. Barry is an unreasonable woman. Anne goes to the Barry house and apologizes to Mrs. Barry herself, but Mrs. Barry remains firm. That night, Anne cries herself to sleep once again, and Marilla feels such tenderness toward the sleeping girl that she kisses her on the cheek.
The next day, Diana comes to Green Gables to say goodbye to Anne. They profess love to one another and Anne takes a lock of Diana’s hair to remember her by. They promise that even though they will have to act like strangers, they will be friends forever. The day after that, Anne comes down in the morning with her school books and tells Marilla she is going back to school so that she can still see Diana every day. Marilla is pleased but tries to conceal it.
At school, Anne is welcomed back happily by all of the other students. Many girls give her little gifts such as plums and a perfume bottle. Gilbert and Charlie both give Anne gifts as well, though Anne does not accept Gilbert’s. Anne is upset that Diana does not look at her at all her first day back at school, but on her second day back at school, she finds a note from Diana saying that she misses her. Anne does not have any more behavioral issues at school and focuses intently on her studies because she wants to do better than Gilbert.
Anne and Gilbert are always at the top of the class, far ahead of other students in their grade. Anne must work very hard on math and spelling to try to do better than him. At the end of the term, both Anne and Gilbert are promoted to a higher class and start studying harder subjects, including geometry which Anne finds especially hard.
In January, the Canadian Premier comes to Charlottetown, a city near Avonlea. Most of the adults in Avonlea—including Marilla, Mrs. Rachel, and Mr. and Mrs. Barry—go to see him speak. Anne and Matthew choose to stay home. They sit by the fire talking about geometry, politics, and courting. Suddenly, Diana bursts in the door and says her little sister Minnie May is very sick. Anne rushes with Diana to the Barry house while Matthew rides their horse to get the doctor.
At the Barry house, Anne’s skills from caring for babies throughout her childhood prove essential. She determines that Minnie May has croup and orders Diana and Mary Joe, a French girl babysitting the Barry children, to boil water and find ipecac. By the time the doctor arrives at 3 in the morning, she has given Minnie May the entire bottle of ipecac and the baby’s illness has begun to improve. The doctor is very impressed and later tells Mr. and Mrs. Barry that Minnie May would have died without Anne’s intervention.
In the meantime, Anne goes home in the dawn and decides to go to sleep rather than try to stay awake at school all day. She wakes up in the afternoon to find that Marilla has come home. Marilla praises Anne for knowing how to help Minnie May, gives her lunch, and then tells her that Mrs. Barry has come to Green Gables and said that Anne and Diana can be friends again. Anne is so excited that she asks permission to go to Diana’s house right away.
Anne comes home at night after spending the rest of the day at Diana’s house. She tells Marilla that Mrs. Barry apologized and treated Anne to an elegant tea using their best china. Anne says that it must be lovely to be grown up and vows that when she is an adult, she will treat children as if they were adults as well. Anne says that tonight she will say a special prayer.
One evening, Anne asks Marilla whether she can go to Diana’s house. Anne knows that Diana has something to tell her because they have devised a system of signals by placing candles on their window sills. Marilla lets Anne go to Diana’s house for ten minutes, and Anne comes back with the news: it is Diana’s birthday the next day and she is inviting Anne to come to her house after school, go to a Debating Club concert in the evening, and then sleep over at her house. Marilla tells Anne "no" multiple times, but Matthew comes in and tells Marilla that she should let Anne go. Marilla eventually gives up arguing with Matthew and tells Anne she can go.
The next day, Anne is distracted all day at school. All the students talk about the Debating Club concert since many of their older siblings will be participating. After school, Anne goes to Diana’s house; they get dressed and do their hair together. They ride in a sleigh along with Diana’s cousins to the Debating Club concert. Anne is greatly moved by many of the recitations, except for the one by Gilbert. When they get back to Diana’s house, Diana tells Anne that she thinks Gilbert looked at Anne when reciting a romantic section of his recitation, and Anne changes the subject by suggesting they race to the bed in the spare room. They run to the room and jump on the bed at the same time, and they suddenly find that there is someone sleeping in the bed! They frantically jump out of the bed and hurry upstairs to sleep elsewhere. On the way up, Diana tells Anne that the person in the bed must have been her Aunt Josephine.
In the morning, Anne goes home before Mrs. Barry finds out about the girls jumping on Aunt Josephine. However, later in the day, Mrs. Rachel Lynde tells Anne that Diana is in trouble; Aunt Josephine will be leaving the next day and won’t pay for Diana’s music lessons as she had promised. Anne blames herself for the situation and goes over to the Barry house to try to make things right. Diana does not seem upset when Anne arrives, and she tries to convince Anne not to talk to Aunt Josephine. Anne nevertheless explains what happened to Aunt Josephine and asks for forgiveness. Surprisingly, Aunt Josephine is amused by Anne and even laughs at some of the things Anne says. Aunt Josephine asks Anne to tell her more about herself, but Anne says that she has to go home. Aunt Josephine says that she will stay in Avonlea for a month, as planned, so long as Anne will come over and talk to her again.
Over the month, Anne does visit Aunt Josephine many more times, and they become friends. When Aunt Josephine goes back home, she tells Anne to come to visit her.
Spring begins and Anne is entranced by the beautiful flowers blooming in Avonlea. Soon, it is June, and Anne asks Marilla one night if she knows what it is the anniversary of. Marilla doesn’t remember, so Anne tells her: it has been one year since Anne came to Green Gables. Marilla does not make a big fuss over this, but the narratpr notes that Marilla “sometimes wondered how she could have lived before Anne came” (p. 205).
Marilla sends Anne to ask Mrs. Barry for a sewing pattern, and Anne says she doesn’t want to because it is too dark and she is afraid to go through a wood which she has named the Haunted Wood. Anne has made up elaborate fantasies about the Haunted Wood that do not scare her during the day but make her to afraid to go into it at night. Marilla forces Anne to walk through the wood anyway. Anne fears the entire way to the Barry house that she will be grabbed by a goblin. On the way back from the Barry house, Anne keeps her eyes closed while she walks. When Anne returns, she says to Marilla that she won’t imagine so much anymore.
The school year ends; Anne and many of her classmates weep to see their teacher leave, even though they didn’t like him very much. However, Anne says that she isn’t too sad because now she has two months of summer vacation—and she got to see the new, young minister of Avonlea and his pretty wife. Many candidates for the minister of Avonlea had come to preach throughout the spring, and eventually, the new minister, Mr. Allan, was chosen by the congregation. Anne is smitten with Mrs. Allan as soon as she takes over her Sunday School class, particularly because Mrs. Allan said that the students could ask her as many questions as they wanted. Marilla tells Anne that they can have Mr. and Mrs. Allen over for tea soon, and she tells Anne that she can make a cake for the occasion.
Marilla and Anne are busy making a wide variety of pastries and other delicacies for the day the Allans come over. Finally, the day arrives, and Anne wakes up early to make her cake. She has a cold, but she is still very invested in making the cake as good as possible. When the Allans are over, everything goes well until it comes time for Anne’s cake. Mrs. Allan declines to try it at first because she has eaten many other things, but she agrees to have a big slice when she finds out that Anne made it especially for her. When she takes a bite, it is clear that something is wrong with the cake, but she keeps eating it anyway. Marilla takes a bite and immediately asks Anne in shock what she put in the cake. It turns out that Anne added anodyne liniment because it was in a bottle labeled “Best Vanilla” (p.220). Anne couldn’t smell the difference due to her stuffed nose.
Anne weeps, thinking about how kids at school will make fun of her. Mrs. Allan comforts her, saying that it was a little mistake and that she still appreciates Anne’s thoughtfulness. Mrs. Allan asks to see Anne’s garden. After the Allans have left, Anne tells Marilla that a good thing about her is that she never makes the same mistake twice.
One day over the summer, Anne is very excited to find that Mrs. Allan has sent her an invitation to come over for tea. Marilla worries that Anne’s emotions are too strong—both the positive and negative emotions. Anne is anxious that it might rain the next day and she won’t be able to go to tea, but the weather is fine in the morning and she goes to the Allans’ house after breakfast.
Anne returns and tells Marilla all about her time at tea with Mrs. Allan and another little girl named Lauretta. They had tea together and then sang together, leading Mrs. Allan to invite Anne to sing in the church choir. Lauretta left early, so Anne got to have a “heart-to-heart talk” (p. 228) with Mrs. Allan, and she told her all about her difficult childhood, her life at Green Gables, and her struggles in school. At the end of tea, Mrs. Rachel Lynde came by and said that the Avonlea school has hired a new teacher named Miss Stacy.
Chapter 15 begins by jumping ahead around a month. Anne has already gotten adjusted to the Avonlea school and established a routine of walking to and from school with Diana. This allows the author to focus on Anne's interaction with Gilbert on the first day he returns to school, rather than describing the whole process of Anne meeting the other students. The two days at school described in Chapter 15 set Gilbert up as the main antagonist in the novel, even though Gilbert tries to make amends with Anne repeatedly.
For readers of the entire Anne of Green Gables series, there is a humorous irony in Anne's antagonistic relationship with Gilbert and declaration that she "made up her mind to hate Gilbert Blythe to the end of life" (p. 149). In fact, in sequels to Anne of Green Gables, Anne and Gilbert marry and have seven children together. Nevertheless, this statement does foreshadow that Anne will stubbornly continue her antagonistic relationship with Gilbert until the end of the novel.
Montgomery's chapter titles often create suspense regarding what will happen next in the story. For example, the title of Chapter 16 is "Diana Is Invited to Tea with Tragic Results" (p. 151). The title gives just enough information to create tension throughout the beginning of the chapter, but it does not spoil exactly what the tragic result will be. Similarly, Chapter 18, "Anne to the Rescue" (p. 174), informs the reader that this chapter will have a positive and triumphant tone.
Anne's imagination is a theme throughout Anne of Green Gables. Anne has developed a strong imagination as a coping technique due to the neglect and isolation she experienced in her childhood. Montgomery shows how Anne is able to start lowering her defenses once she feels loved and accepted. Earlier in the book, Anne tells Marilla that when she was living with various guardians who treated her like a servant, she would play with imaginary friends. She speaks quite fondly about these imaginary friends at that point in the novel. However, just after Diana has told Anne that she loves her in Chapter 17, Anne tells Marilla, "Somehow, little dream girls are not satisfying after a real friend" (p. 168). Now that Anne's reality is mostly positive and affirming, she is able to live more in reality, rather than escaping into her mind.
Though Anne's past was traumatic and negatively impacted her self-esteem and education, Montgomery also shows that difficult experiences can forge important skills and character traits. Montgomery demonstrates this in Chapter 18 when Anne is able to save Diana's younger sister's life due to having cared for her guardians' children from a young age. Anne herself says, "I'm so glad Mrs. Hammond had three pairs of twins after all. If she hadn't I mightn't have known what to do for Minnie May" (p. 182). This shows Anne beginning to integrate her negative experiences into a positive image of herself as a capable and caring young woman.