Summary and Analysis
Ronnie is now at the Beach Seafood Festival. Although she is disenchanted with the festival and the pier in its entirety, she is intrigued by the abandoned puppies at the SPCA booth. While talking with the woman at the booth, Ronnie hears the roar of the crowd watching the beach volleyball tournament.
As Ronnie makes her way toward the tournament, she admires the physiques of the tanned athletes. She silently roots for the team she considered the underdogs, but after realizing that the players and the fans know each other, the game becomes less interesting to her. As she turns to leave, one of the players bumps into her, causing her to spill her soda all over her face and shirt. The shirt that Ronnie is wearing was from a concert that she went to without her mother's permission with a person her mother didn't approve of. But Ronnie is only partially rebellious — she does some things that are out of line but not others.
Just as Ronnie is cleaning up her shirt, she accidentally bumps into someone and the rest of her soda immediately soaks the rest of her shirt. The person she meets is Blaze. Ronnie and Blaze share their given names, Veronica and Galadriel, respectively, and seem to hit it off. Blaze suggests that Ronnie purchase a Finding Nemo shirt. Ronnie sees three guys approaching, and as she turns to ask Blaze about them, she realizes Jonah is by her side. He offers to remain quiet regarding her whereabouts for money, and Ronnie begrudgingly pays him. She ends up purchasing the Nemo shirt in order to sneak past her father.
Blaze and Ronnie sit together and talk about their lives and how out of place they feel in Wrightsville. Blaze's parents are divorced, and she does not like living with either of them. Blaze points out a boardwalk performance featuring three thug–like guys. The leader of the three is Marcus. After he tosses a fireball toward Ronnie, who ducks out of the way, a police officer rushes toward it, threatening to bring the group to the station the next time he catches them. They leave, and after only a brief hesitation, Ronnie chases after them.
In this chapter, readers see another side of Ronnie: You see how out of place Ronnie feels in this small, seaside community as opposed to her home in New York. Her feelings for the abandoned puppies demonstrate the warmth that was alluded to by her mother but which has remained hidden up to now.
In more typical fashion, Ronnie's initial reaction to both the boys playing volleyball and the girls cheering for them demonstrates Ronnie's judgmental tendency.
In contrast to her tendency to be judgmental, it is important to note that Ronnie does not drink or do drugs, even though she has had the opportunity to do so. This instance is another glimpse into the complex personality of the protagonist — one whose outer persona is actually quite different from the person within.
Although the reference to Finding Nemo may appear to be merely an allusion to popular culture, the story of Nemo, the fish who feels abandoned and misunderstood by his father, is about repairing a strained parent-child relationship, such as the one between Ronnie and her father.
This chapter also introduces Marcus, the story's villain. Marcus's presence also drives the conflict of the plot as well as being important for character and thematic development.
Prada an Italian fashion label that specializes in luxury goods, often leather
Ronnie appears to have a number of contradictions — outwardly rough yet sensitive and caring toward animals and children. What enabled you to capture the complexities of character that make her so real to readers?
I've learned that people are never "all good" or "all bad" and that teenagers epitomize the contradiction even more than most people, simply because they're trying to make sense of those contradictions even to themselves. Ronnie is mad at her dad (but she loves him), she is mad at her parents for making her spend the summer with her dad (but she couldn't do anything about it), she loves her younger brother Jonah (but Jonah can still drive her crazy), and she doesn't want to be judged by the way she looks (though she judges Will in exactly that way). Being a teenager means confronting those issues head on. Teenagers move away from simply accepting their parents' values to learning how to incorporate (or reject) those values in their own lives.