The narrator of the story, Maybe, has an unusual condition in which her skin is unevenly pigmented. Thrown out of her home by her abusive mother, she is living with a tribe of homeless young people on the streets of New York. Although she retains a sense of caring for others as evidenced by her desire to get Tears off the streets, she is deeply suspicious of adults, and balks at the idea off giving up her freedom in exchange for stable living arrangements.
Feisty 2Moro, HIV positive with a long history of molestation and abuse, is a chronic runaway. She prostitutes herself to get by, and is eventually killed by an unknown predator.
Country Club dies in the beginning of the book of alcohol poisoning. In his early twenties, he is older than the other members of the tribe, except for his constant companion, OG.
Like Country Club, OG is in his early twenties and has been on the streets longer than the others. His homelessness has taken a toll on his health, and he has a serious lung condition which leaves him near death at the end of the book.
Pest is a stray puppy adopted by OG to fill the void after Country Club dies. Pest eventually starves to death under OG's care.
Maggot is the only one of the tribe who comes from an affluent and comparatively stable home. He is out on the streets by choice, out of a sense of rebellion, and returns to his parents when the going gets too tough.
Jewel has been thrown out of his home because his parents could not accept his ambigious sexuality. He retreats frequently into a fantasy world where he finds material comfort and love, and eventually loses touch with reality altogether.
Sold by her mother repeatedly for drug money, beautiful Rainbow is a runaway and a junkie. After escaping multiple times from treatment facilities, she finally commits suicide by drowning herself in the river.
Tears is the newest and youngest of the tribe members; she ran away from home because her stepfather was abusing her, and her mother would not believe her. Tears retains a sense of innocence, and, with the help of Maybe, manages to escape the streets and find a home with relatives who are willing to give her a chance.
Anthony is a library worker who befriends Maybe and helps her get Tears off the streets. A single man with the same skin condition that Maybe has, he is altruistic and protective, and really cares about Maybe's welfare and those of her tribemates.
Officer Ryan is new to her beat. She performs her job as concerns the street kids, but is as compassionate as she can be in her dealings with them.
Laura is a worker from a charitable society which offers placement for the homeless kids on the street. Although the tribemembers for the most part do not take her up on her offer of shelter because of the rules they would have to follow, Maybe, at least, realizes in the end that Laura's intentions are good.