‘Only If You’re Lucky’ Book Ending Explained – Who killed Levi Butler?

Only If You’re Lucky Plot Summary

At the center of Only If You’re Lucky is a young woman called Margot. After the tragic passing of her old friend Eliza, Margot packs up her things (along with her previous baggage of her best friend’s death) and heads off to college.

Once there, she immediately finds herself ensnared in the grip of an alluring new girl called Lucy. Lucy is joined by two other girls, Sloane and Nicole, and the four form an unlikely friendship. As Margot starts to get to know the girls – especially Lucy – she realizes that there are more secrets here that she’s only just starting to understand.

Interwoven around these “Before” chapters are parts of a tale that occur “After” a big event. This includes Lucy missing and a boy from the frat house next door, Kappa Nu, dead.  But what happened? Who’s dead? And where is Lucy? All of those answers and more will be revealed!

What happened to Eliza?

One of the main mysteries of the book stems from Margot’s old friend, Eliza. We’re led to believe the events from the fateful night she died where all the fault of Levi Butler, who killed her. The pair were up on the rooftop of the school talking and Levi, in a blind fit of rage, pushed her off and killed the girl. This explains why Margot hates Levi so much, and also why Lucy is so intent on stirring things up and helping Margot get her revenge.

As we learn from the end of the story, this is not actually true. Margot accidentally killed Eliza, not Levi. Her and Eliza had been drifting apart for months after a big fight between the pair. Ever since Levi came into the picture, Margot grew jealous and believed he was manipulating her. In reality, Eliza was falling in love.

After seeing the pair together making love, Margot confronts her old best friend alone. As they fight, Margot swings her arm out and Eliza tumbles to her death. The whole thing was an accident.

Why did Eliza find comfort in Levi?

Eliza’s past is wrapped up with Lucy’s, and as we find out the pair have more in common than we first thought. Before revealing this, it’s worth considering Levi’s effect on Eliza. She took comfort in him because Eliza didn’t want Margot to see her vulnerabilities and learn the truth about how Lucy tied into the story. Levi did know, especially as Lucy was lurking around outside his house.

Levi and Eliza naturally found comfort in their shared kinship over Lucy. The same Lucy, as we find out, who intentionally sought out Margot, believing the pair have a lot in common. The common denominator of jealousy.

Who is Lucy?

Lucy, as it turns out, happens to be Eliza’s hidden sister. Mr Jefferson had an affair with Lucy’s mother, something he claims was a “one night mistake” and that he “barely knows her”. He paid off Lucy’s mum every month with a wad of cash to keep this a dirty secret. He also owns the land deed to Lucy’s house, which happens to be out in the country in a barely populated placed called Fairfield.

Eliza intercepted the envelope meant for Lucy and her mother one month, addressed to Fairfield, and that caused all sorts of drama. This also explains why Eliza had the envelope stashed in her desk. She knew all about this and was going to confront her father about it.

Lucy’s boyfriend back then died in a car accident, and it stemmed from a drunken argument between the two. Lucy wanted to drive over to reveal everything and upend Eliza’s life, her boyfriend, Parker, ended up crashing and dying in a freak accident. Lucy had nothing to do with it but was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

She intentionally got involved with Margot and the others to hatch her plan. She’s 23 and never actually went to the school. She’s also the one who stole Nicole’s key card and set her up with Trevor.

What happened on Halloween?

One of the other big mysteries stems from Nicole’s ordeal on Halloween. Trevor was never a nice boyfriend and in their drunken state, forced himself on Nicole. She rationalized it, and he gaslit her saying they’re dating so it’s “okay” This is why Margot found her in such a state covered in sick too. Nicole had stopped eating after this and she’s been struggling with the truth for a while, and Sloane has been looking out for her.

As a result of all this, Nicole had a huge vendetta against Trevor, which is very important to note for the next part of the story!

Who killed Levi Butler?

As the story reaches its crescendo and secrets come tumbling out, we’re given a cracking twist involving Levi’s death. Found out in the woods, Levi’s neck has bruises over it where someone held him down while he choked on mud in a drunken state and died.

Prior to this, Levi had initially shoved Lucy off him after a fiery encounter with Trevor. Trevor forced Levi to switch shirts after spilling alcohol down himself, and the former-pledge does so with a venomous look.

Why is this significant? Well, it turns out it was Nicole who killed Levi! She mistook him for Trevor, given the shirt, and she tried to kill him. She felt good doing so, harking back to Lucy’s initial game at Parker Lanes, revealing that anyone could kill if they wanted to. Everyone has that in them. And who else but the timid, weak Nicole to snap and do just this?

What happened to Lucy?

In the present, with the secrets revealed, Sloane stabs Lucy and kills her outright. She’s desperate to protect Nicole, the same Nicole who was fed to Trevor like a slab of meat for the girls to get entry into staying at Kappa Nu – all of which done so under Lucy’s watch.

They wrap the deceased Lucy up in game bags and take her down to the secret basement where it’s cold and with the hopes that the body will decompose slowly. They’ll be long gone by summer (when heat rises and the smell will waft back up) but the police could come sniffing around again.

For now, the girls pin the murders of Levi Butler and Eliza on Lucy, using the pretence of her familial ties and jealousy as a perfect crime. With Lucy having illegal access to the dorms, not to mention her laptop full of photos from the past, it’s the perfect crime.

The girls play dumb with Detective Frank, and play it off as they’re going along with the story, when in reality they planned all of this – right down to Nicole’s little outburst about Lucy’s lust for murder.

In the end, it’s the perfect crime and the girls end up forged in this newfound friendship circle, with their own ironclad secret keeping them together. Finally Margot has found her circle…but at what cost?


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