The rising action of this novel is the tension that builds between Eric and Sarah's father as Sarah is in a sort of catatonic state in the hospital where she has been taken. She has become completely non-responsive as a defense mechanism to her father's abusive nature. While in the hospital, she doesn't have to live at home and be subject to her father's physical, mental, and emotional abuse. She does begin speaking to Eric in the hospital, and Mr. Byrnes suspects that Eric knows more than he is revealing which causes Mr. Byrnes to threaten Eric. The entire situation tests the strength and endurance of the friendship between Eric and Sarah, but they are victorious in the end with some help from other characters in the novel.