THEME: In the end, the hardships in life are what truly bring us together.
Page3; Para.2- "Very few people come out and say they don't like you because you aren't white; when you're younger it comes at a birthday party you learn about after the fact, or later, having a girl say yes to a date only to come back after discussing it with her parents, having suddenly remembered she had another engagement that night."
- T.J. has suffered a lot because of the color of his skin and can later connect with Heidi and help her adjust to racism.
Page104; Para.8- "Chris says, "I wish my brother were here.""
- Chris is very rarely happy because he is almost always reminded of his deceased brother. T.J. can relate to this because he knows what it is like to lose a loved one as his mother had left him when he was younger and he thinks of her very often.
Page165; Para.2- "Soon as my mom would take off for work, he'd tie my leg to the pipe under the kitchen sink,..."
-Mott went through child abuse in his childhood and now has a prostate leg. T.J. can relate to being abused because when he was younger, his mother would be so high on drugs that she'd forget to feed him. So he would be hungry until his mom was hungry, rarely, and wanted to eat.
Page184; Para7- "It's... I don't know what I am going to do when this is over. I never belonged to... anything."
- Every member of the swim team felt they were misfits and in the end, their differences brought them together.
Page193; Para.6- "...Heidi comes through the kitchen door, one hand dripping in soapsuds, the other dripping blood. Mom rushes to her."
- Heidi will do anything to fit in, including hurting herself. She wants to be white so that her step-dad won't discriminate against her. T.J. can relate to her and help her deal with her problem because he too once suffered discrimination.