In The Bronze Bow, why do Daniel's cheeks grow hot when Joel informs him of Thacia's message?

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Daniel’s cheeks grow hot in response to receiving word that Thacia has sent him a message due to his growing affection for Thacia and her similar feelings of affection for him. Daniel is a young man, and love is a particularly vulnerable experience for young people. Blushing is a natural response to feeling self-conscious, and in this instance, Daniel feels vulnerable when his friend mentions Thacia’s message, as this reminds Daniel of the mutually romantic feelings Daniel and Thacia share. Acknowledging love can be particularly sensitive in front of other people, especially, once again, for young adults who are just beginning to navigate deep feelings of romance and intimacy. Daniel is navigating not only the complex feelings of love for Thacia, but also the feelings of camaraderie from all that the two have been through together in the course of oppression by the Romans and in their work to struggle for liberation.

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Daniel and Thacia slowly develop feelings for each other during the course of the book. They go through a lot together, and Daniel learns a lot about himself by listening to her. In Chapter 20, Joel visits Daniel and Leah to deliver a message; Daniel knows that the rebellion will no longer be led by Rosh, and Joel explains that the rebels will wait for a new leader. While there, Joel tells Daniel that Thacia, who sent a message for Leah, also sent a message for him:

"Leah is very lovely, Daniel. I wish -- Thacia sent you a message too, by the way."

Daniel felt his cheeks grow hot.

"Four days from now is the Day of Atonement. [...] Will you come to town for it?"
(Speare, The Bronze Bow, Google Books)

Daniel's cheeks grow hot because he is reminded of his feelings for Thacia; blushing is usually in response to a deep emotional feeling, whether shame or love. In Daniel's case, it is likely because he misses Thacia and wishes that he could see her, but is afraid of rejection. His feelings grow conflicted later in the conversation as Joel explains that his father wants to arrange a marriage for Thacia; Daniel is internally angry, but the only hint he gives is to tighten his grip on a hammer. The visit leaves Daniel in despair, as he is afraid that the rebellion, and the possibility of a relationship with Thacia, are truly dead.

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