Rowdy--as his name implies--is outwardly a rough-and-tumble kid who has a rough exterior because he deals with the daily abuse of his alcoholic father. But even though Rowdy is rough on the outside, Junior knows that he has a soft inner spot which is revealed when he does the things he loves such as reading comic books. When Junior tells him that he is going to leave the school in Wellpinit to attend Reardan, Rowdy feels betrayed and tries to shut Junior out of his life. He cannot see the benefits of Junior leaving to go to another school. Junior is a stable entity in Rowdy's life, and Rowdy does not want to lose Junior. However, as the novel progresses, Rowdy starts to see past his own needs and begins to come to an understanding of why Junior has made the decision to switch schools. In the end, the two boys become friends again.