Greer Kadetsky is the novel’s intelligent, sensitive, and ambitious protagonist and Cory Pinto’s girlfriend. Raised by ex-hippie parents, Greer longs for a likeminded community and believes she will find it at a prestigious university… read analysis of Greer Kadetsky
Faith Frank, the novel’s antagonist and Greer Kadetsky’s foil, is a feminist icon, activist, and writer who got her start in the 1960s, during feminism’s second wave. When the novel begins, Faith Frank is… read analysis of Faith Frank
Greer Kadetsky’s high school sweetheart, Cory Pinto, is sensitive, family-oriented, and constantly in search of his sense of self. Although Cory and Greer had planned on attending Yale together, when Greer’s financial aid paperwork… read analysis of Cory Pinto
Zee Eisenstat is a lesbian feminist activist and is Greer’s first real friend in college. Zee introduces Greer to the world of feminist thought and the work of second-wave feminist icon, Faith Frank… read analysis of Zee Eisenstat
Greer’s father. An ex-hippie who spends his days working odd jobs, smoking marijuana, and selling protein bars as part of an apparent pyramid scheme, Rob is bewildered by his smart, thoughtful daughter’s ambitious and… read analysis of Rob Kadetsky
Cory’s precocious and incredibly intelligent younger brother who is killed when he is only eight years old after his mother, Benedita, runs over him with her car while he is crouched in the… read analysis of Alby Pinto
Cory Pinto’s mother, Benedita, is a kindly woman who works as a house cleaner. Her life dramatically when she runs over her youngest son, Alby, while backing her car out of the driveway… read analysis of Benedita Pinto
The wealthy head of ShraderCapital, the investment firm which backs Faith Frank’s organization, Loci. It is revealed in a series of flashbacks that Faith and Emmett have known each other for several decades—they slept… read analysis of Emmett Shrader
A guidance counselor at the Teach for Reach school that Zee is assigned to. At first, Noelle is condescending toward Zee. When the two of them get drinks just after witnessing Shara Pick’s labor and… read analysis of Noelle
One of Zee Eisenstat’s students at the Teach for Reach school in Chicago. Shara is a rotund, quiet girl who always wears a parka in class. One afternoon, when Shara goes to the bathroom… read analysis of Shara Pick
Zee Eisenstat’s mother’s law clerk. When Zee begins travelling to the city under the guise of seeing Broadway shows in order to attend lesbian bars, she runs into Linda at one of these “watering… read analysis of Linda Mariani
Senator Annie McCauley
A senator in Indiana who has become famous for her staunch pro-life stance. It is revealed through a flashback that Faith Frank and Annie were once friends who travelled out to Las Vegas together to… read analysis of Senator Annie McCauley
An Ecuadorian women who has allegedly benefited from Loci’s mentorship program. Loci brings Lupe to California to give a speech at one of their summits, where Greer writes Lupe’s speech for her and speaks alongside… read analysis of Lupe Izurieta
Greer’s mother and Rob Kadetsky’s wife. An ex-hippie and a “library clown” who makes a living performing songs and magic tricks for children at local libraries, Laurel, like her husband, is unable to understand or connect to her intellectual and driven child.
Cory’s father and Benedita’s husband. After Benedita inadvertently kills their son Alby, Duarte is unable to deal with his pain, grief, and rage, and returns to Portugal, leaving Cory to fill the gap he has left behind.
A student at Princeton who repeatedly attempts to seduce Cory Pinto, and eventually succeeds. He and Clove sleep together several times over the course of four years, and Cory feels extreme guilt each time since he is still dating Greer.
Faith Frank’s assistant at Loci.
Faith Frank’s son lives across the country in Denver and has become distant, though not estranged, from his mother.
A former employee of ShraderCapital who contacts Greer in order to confidentially inform her that Loci’s mentorship program in Ecuador does not actually exist.
Kay is Cory and Greer’s high-school aged babysitter who cares for the couple’s daughter, Emilia, and fiercely looks up to Greer. Kay, despite her youth, is a self-described radical feminist who dreams of one day revolutionizing the movement, which she sees as outdated and insufficient in many ways.
A student at Ryland with whom Zee and Greer become friendly. Greer and Kelvin have a brief flirtation and even kiss once, but Greer feels loyal to Cory and does not pursue anything further with Kelvin.
Kelvin’s roommate, who has an unrequited crush on Zee.
A girl from Greer and Cory’s hometown with whom Cory has a brief sexual relationship.
Sab, Cory’s cousin, is a burnout and a bad influence. The two of them bond briefly when Cory moves home following Alby’s death, but Cory is unable to keep up with Sab’s drug use.