While the novel is told from a variety of viewpoints, Andy Jackson is its protagonist. A high school senior, Andy is a fun-loving basketball player before an automobile crash causes the death of his best friend. After the accident, the novel follows Andy's struggle with grief, guilt, and fear. Draper uses a stream-of-consciousness narrative in some of the novel's chapters to illustrate Andy's struggles. His inner dialogue demonstrates that he cannot forgive himself for drinking and driving the night of the accident. He tries to figure out if his deceased friend Robbie forgives him or is angry with him, but he cannot find the answer. Throughout the novel, Andy seeks help from various individuals, such as his psychologist and his girlfriend, but no one is able to convince him that he can have a future and that he can forgive himself.
Keisha is Andy's girlfriend throughout most of the novel. Initially after the crash, she is extremely patient with Andy. She comforts him when he cries and gives him distance when he needs it. However, she soon realizes that she longs for a normal teenage life and that she cannot provide Andy with the hope or answers that he seeks. When Andy belittles her at a talent show that he is hosting, Keisha is devastated and breaks up with him.
While Rhonda does not have a close relationship with Andy, her character provides the reader with important plot details through her conversations with Keisha (her best friend) and her letter to Andy. She is a practical friend to Keisha and tries to listen to others without judging them. She is also thoughtful; on the day of Andy's suicide, Rhonda stopped by his house to drop off some homework that he had missed. She is there when Andy's mother discovers his body and longs for Andy to realize the pain that his death caused everyone who loved him.
B.J. and Tyrone
Both young men rode in the backseat of Andy's car on the night of the accident. While Draper does not develop...
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