The main character of the novel, Martha is an introspective and ponderous twelve-year-old who has dreams of being a great writer someday. She is very kind and thoughtful and is an amazing caregiver to her younger sister, Lucy. Her mother even says that she will be a good mom someday because of her responsible and loving qualities. Because Martha ponders life deeply, she is a good character to show the impact that people’s deaths can have on those around them. As she struggles to understand her relationship with a deceased classmate, Olive, and to work through her feelings of betrayal after the cruel treatment of her first crush, Jimmy, Martha shows uncharacteristic maturity and perspective. She is able to see things clearly and in their proper light, bouncing back from setbacks and giving Olive’s memory proper respect and dignity.
Even though Olive is not a live character in the active storyline, she influences the plot and the main character, Martha Boyle, throughout the novel. Olive died before the opening pages of the novel, but her mother shares a page from her journal with Martha, and Martha’s memories of Olive actively influence Martha’s thoughts for the remainder of the story. Olive was a shy and reserved girl whom people often made fun of for being different. She did not have very many friends, was lonely, and dreamed of having friends who liked her. Her mother was a single mother who struggled to make ends meet as Olive struggled through school and the cruelties suffered there. In her journal, she was very similar to Martha, wanting to be a writer and wanting to go to the ocean, so Martha feels a kinship with her and works to find a way to make peace and show friendship toward the deceased Olive. Olive serves the purpose of showing that people have infinite connections we do not even know about with the people around us and that being kind to people all of the time is crucially important because you never know the impact it might have on someone else.
Martha’s older brother,...
(The entire section is 865 words.)