The main character, sixteen-year-old Jenna, is loyal and dependable. Because her father is an alcoholic and her mother works a night shift to make ends meet, Jenna shoulders the responsibilties of having a job and caring for her sister, in addition to schoolwork and extra-curricular activities. Jenna is protective of her sister, and shelters her from knowing the extent of their father's alcoholism. Jenna tends to be overcritical about herself; she is self-conscious about how she looks, and blames herself for things such as her father's situation, which are beyond her control.
Mrs. Madeline Gladstone is Jenna's boss at work, and she also hires Jenna to be her personal driver. Although she hides behind a gruff exterior, she is sympathetic and discerning, and has a strong sense of right and wrong. She recognizes in Jenna a lot of the qualities she values most.
Jenna's mother is loving but overworked, and must depend heavily on Jenna for help with her sister, Faith. Faith has been sheltered from the truth about her father, and has an unrealistic view of how things really are.
Harry Bender is a recovered alcoholic. He is outgoing and determined, and shows Jenna that alcoholics can indeed change, but only if they have tremendous courage.
Alice Lovett is funny and assertive. She takes Jenna under her wing and helps her make some changes that make Jenna feel better about herself.