Protagonist Makani Young is a high school senior who is still adapting to life among the cornfields of Osborne, Nebraska, after moving there from Hawaii midway through her junior year. Makani’s biracial identity and ignorance… read analysis of Makani Young
A senior at Osborne High, Ollie Larsson is Makani’s crush and, later, her boyfriend. He works at Greeley’s Foods, the local supermarket. Like Makani, Ollie dreams of leaving Osborne, and he spends his free… read analysis of Ollie Larsson
Osborne High student David Ware is the Osborne Slayer—the villain responsible for the grisly murders of his fellow Osborne High seniors. David Ware’s most remarkable feature is that he is entirely unremarkable. When David’s hood… read analysis of David Ware
Darby is a high school senior and one of Makani’s best friends. He and Alex took Makani under their wing when Makani transferred to Osborne High midway through junior year. Darby is kind, subdued… read analysis of Darby
Grandma Young is Makani’s grandmother. Makani comes to live with Grandma Young when Grandma Young’s sleepwalking worsens following the death of Granddaddy Young. However, Makani suspects that the real reason she must live… read analysis of Grandma Young
Chris Larsson is Ollie’s older brother; he’s a police officer with the Osborne Police Department. Chris treats Makani kindly, offering to let her stay at the Larsson home while Grandma Young recovers in the… read analysis of Chris Larsson
Matt Butler is captain of Osborne High’s football team. He’s set to attend college on a football scholarship and then, ideally, play professionally. Matt is the second victim of David Ware, the Osborne Slayer… read analysis of Matt Butler
Rodrigo is a student at Osborne High. He’s David Ware’s best friend—which makes it even more cruel when he becomes David’s third murder victim. Rodrigo is an intelligent computer whiz, though he’s also an… read analysis of Rodrigo Morales
Caleb Greeley is a student at Osborne High and a victim of the Osborne Slayer (David Ware). He comes from a well-off, influential local family—his father is a pastor, and his grandfather was… read analysis of Caleb Greeley
Rosemarie Holt is a student at Osborne High. She’s a tough, capable girl who was raised on a farm across the cornfield from Ollie. A talented barrel racer, Rosemarie has dreams of competing nationally… read analysis of Rosemarie Holt
Katie Kurtzman is one of David Ware’s victims. She’s a star student and president of Osborne High’s student council. She’s also a perfectionist to a fault—her mother, a nurse, suspects that Katie has obsessive-compulsive… read analysis of Katie Kurtzman
Creston Howard is a handsome, Black news anchor at Osborne’s local news station who reports on the Osborne slayings. Grandma Young always tunes in to hear what Creston has to say. Makani feels guilty when… read analysis of Creston Howard
Zachary Loup is a student at Osborne High. He’s constantly smoking marijuana, and he can be a bit of a bully. When Katie Kurtzman kindly but firmly rejects Zachary’s attempts to hit on her, he… read analysis of Zachary Loup
Jasmine was Makani’s best friend when Makani lived in Hawaii. When the girls were rookies on their high school swim team, the veteran swimmers “kidnapped” them as part of a cruel hazing ritual in… read analysis of Jasmine
Makani’s mother is Grandma Young’s daughter. She is narcissistic and too self-involved to care about Makani. While Makani is living in Nebraska with Grandma Young, Makani’s mother and Makani’s father remain in Hawaii… read analysis of Makani’s Mother
Makani’s father is Native Hawaiian. Makani’s mother met him when she travelled to Hawaii after her high school graduation. While Makani is living in Nebraska with Grandma Young, Makani’s father and mother remain in… read analysis of Makani’s Father
Brooke is Haley Whitehall’s best friend and the stage manager for Osborne High. Haley talks to Brooke on the phone the night before her murder. Brooke isn’t a particularly important character, but she plays… read analysis of Brooke
Haley Whitehall is the first murder victim in the novel. She is the star of Osborne High’s drama department and was supposed to play the lead role in the school’s production of Sweeney Todd, but… read analysis of Haley Whitehall
Jason Nakamura was Makani’s boyfriend in Hawaii. He broke up with her after she attacked her best friend, Jasmine, during a hazing ritual.
Grandaddy Young is Makani’s grandfather. He passed away before the events of the novel take place. Makani moves to Nebraska after Grandma Young struggles to cope with Grandaddy Young’s death.
Lauren Dixon is Matt Butler’s girlfriend. Before Matt’s murder, he is annoyed at Lauren for inserting herself into the tragedy of Haley Whitehall’s death.
Buddy is one of Matt Butler’s teammates on the football team. He’s a stereotypical “dumb jock” character.
Officer Beverly Gage
Officer Beverly Gage is a police officer with the Osborne Police Department. She works with Ollie’s brother, Chris Larsson. She interviews Makani after David Ware attacks Makani at Grandma Young’s house.
Gabrielle Cruz is captain of the swim team at Makani’s old high school in Hawaii. She and the other veteran swimmers “kidnap” Makani the other rookies as part of a cruel hazing ritual.
Kayla Lum is one of the veteran swimmers on the swim team at Makani’s old high school in Hawaii. She and the other veteran swimmers “kidnap” Makani and the other rookie swimmers as part of a cruel hazing ritual.
Jonathan is an Osborne High student and the male lead for the school’s production of Sweeney Todd, though he’s not a talented musician.
Coach Hooker coaches Osborne High’s football team.
Principal Stanton is the principal of Osborne High.