Natasha Kingsley, an undocumented immigrant from Jamaica, is one of the seventeen-year-old protagonists of the novel. She came to the US when she was eight years old with her mother, Patricia, to join her… read analysis of Natasha Kingsley
Daniel Bae is one of the novel's seventeen-year-old protagonists. He's a second generation immigrant who very comfortably inhabits a space between being fully American and fully Korean. While he loves Korean food and speaks Korean… read analysis of Daniel Bae
Samuel is Natasha and Peter's father and Patricia’s husband. He believes he has a God-given gift for acting and is meant to be a famous actor. The glowing reviews his performance as Walter… read analysis of Samuel Kingsley
Dae Hyun Bae
Dae Hyun is Daniel's dad. He's a private and quiet man who emigrated from South Korea with his young wife, Min Soo. He decided to leave Korea when he realized that taking over… read analysis of Dae Hyun Bae
Patricia is Natasha's mother. She is very close to both of her children, Natasha and Peter, and over the last nine years that she's lived in New York, she’s become increasingly disillusioned with… read analysis of Patricia Kingsley
Min Soo Bae
Min Soo is Daniel and Charlie's mother and Dae Hyun’s wife. Daniel loves his mother dearly and believes they have a strong relationship, as he feels comfortable enough with her to write poetry… read analysis of Min Soo Bae
Attorney Jeremy Fitzgerald
Jeremy Fitzgerald is considered the best immigration attorney in New York City, and he agrees to see Natasha and do what he can to help reverse her deportation notice. However, his day begins to take… read analysis of Attorney Jeremy Fitzgerald
Irene is an extremely depressed young woman who works as a security guard in the USCIS building, which Natasha visits. She takes her time looking through people's belongings, as that often causes them to look… read analysis of Irene
Peter is Natasha's nine-year-old brother and Samuel and Patricia’s son. He's shy and doesn't feel fully at home in the US. He's thrilled to move to Jamaica, even though he's the only American… read analysis of Peter
Lester Barnes is a case officer at the USCIS building in Manhattan. He agrees to see Natasha when she's late for her appointment with her usual case officer. Though Mr. Barnes appears uncaring and unfeeling… read analysis of Lester Barnes
Donald Christainsen/the BMW Driver
Donald Christainsen is a grief-stricken, alcoholic man who drives a white BMW. Distracted and intoxicated, he almost hits Natasha when he runs a red light, and later in the day, he hits and injures Jeremy… read analysis of Donald Christainsen/the BMW Driver
Hannah is Jeremy Fitzgerald's paralegal. She is a beautiful woman whom Natasha thinks looks as though she could be a princess. In reality, Hannah loves fairy tales, though she thinks of herself as a… read analysis of Hannah Winter
The waitress is a middle-aged Korean woman who works at Daniel's favorite Korean restaurant. She rudely refuses to give Natasha a fork and tells Daniel to teach her to use chopsticks, but the reader… read analysis of The Waitress
Rob was Natasha's boyfriend in high school; they dated for eight months and four days. They began dating after Natasha helped him in their AP Physics class, and Natasha generally liked dating him. He… read analysis of Rob
Joe/The Security Guard
Joe is a security guard in Jeremy Fitzgerald's building who allows Daniel and Natasha to go on the roof. He spent his life making plans to travel and fully enjoy retirement with his wife… read analysis of Joe/The Security Guard
The unnamed conductor drives Daniel's train into the city in the beginning of the novel. After his unexpected divorce, the conductor discovered Christianity and takes it upon himself to evangelize to his train passengers. His newfound religion fills him with joy and purpose.
Kelly is a blonde girl whom Rob cheated on Natasha with. She and Rob attempt to steal records at an independent record store, which Natasha and Daniel witness.
Bev is Natasha's best friend and the only person aware of Natasha's immigration status as of the start of the novel. During the novel, she's touring colleges in California with her mother and rarely responds to Natasha’s messages and calls.