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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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 full character analysis)
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.