Veronica "Ronnie" Miller
The 17-year-old protagonist; at the beginning of the novel, Ronnie is angry at her parents, who are separated, and resents having to spend the summer with her father. During the summer, however, Ronnie gains a new appreciation for family, life, faith, and love, as she develops from a rebellious teenager into a responsible young woman.
Ronnie's estranged father. They used to share a passion for the piano and writing music; now they share nothing. Steve has one summer to reconnect with his daughter. During this same summer, Steve engages in his own spiritual journey as he struggles with the question of what it means to experience the presence of God, and he develops a lasting and special relationship with his son.
The "eye candy" beach volleyball player who is definitely not Ronnie's type . . . or is he? After literally bumping into Ronnie, Will's path continues to cross hers until they cautiously and carefully explore their mutual attraction. The only problem is the secret that he is keeping, a secret that might irreparably destroy their young love.
Ronnie's 10-year-old brother. Unlike Ronnie, Jonah is looking forward to spending the summer with his dad. Not only does Steve teach Jonah how to build a stained-glass window, but he also teaches his son about love and trust. It is clear that Jonah has learned from his father when he unexpectedly assists Ronnie in her time of need.
A Wrightsville beach girl whose real name is Galadriel. Initially, Blaze befriends Ronnie when she first arrives in Wrightsville Beach, but jealousy and insecurity cause Blaze to betray this budding friendship. In the end, Blaze has the opportunity to redeem herself, but will she?
The resident bad boy and fireball thrower. Although Marcus is interested in Ronnie, she does not fall for his charm. A self-centered manipulator, Marcus' primary concern is taking care of himself.
Pastor Charlie Harris
The local minister. Pastor Harris served as Steve's surrogate father and piano teacher as well as Steve's oldest friend. He provides both Ronnie and her father with spiritual guidance and strength during their journeys of self-discovery and faith.
Will's best friend. Because Scott saved Will's life, Scott is able to convince Will to keep his secret.
Ronnie's mother. Unbeknownst to Ronnie, Kim is responsible for two of the important life lessons that Ronnie learns.
Will's older sister. Rather than holding a grudge about the interruption of her wedding, Megan uses it as an opportunity to show understanding. She is a minor character who plays a major role in attempting to reunite Ronnie and Will.
Ashley and Cassie
Friends of Scott and Will. Ashley is Will's ex-girlfriend who will seemingly do anything to get him back, and Cassie is the girl Scott seems to have his eye on.
Tom and Susan
Will's parents. Susan believes that Ronnie is beneath her son's station in life and is hesitant to encourage any relationship between the two.
Teddy and Lance