Steven: He loves to play the drums. he's currently dealing with the stress of school and the health of his sibling.
Jeffrey: Steven's little brother. He and his family had recently found out he has cancer. He's got the whole family worried.
Annette: She plays the piano for the all-city Jazz Band. Her and Steven are the only middle school players. She's Steven's Best Friend.
Renee: she is a smart, popular girl who has a lot of friends. Most boys like her including Steven.


Steven's house and school


Jeffery has cancer and the whole family is struggling with the whole situation.


"i muttered to myself in my bed, hey mom I'm going to be the star of the spring concert"

Okay what i think happened was that he was so tired of school and everything that went on he forgot that he was going to be the star. Since he forgot he just told himself that trying to cheer himself up after Jeffery's accident. He just added mom probably because he wanted to tell his mom when he got home but he couldn't because now her mom was going with Jeffery to a big city to see another doctor. Now he is sad because he got the lead part for the spring concert but at the same time his brother found out he may have cancer. I hope that he doesn't get depressed that something that bad happened since he still has to do that big part in the spring concert.


"You're not going to stay that way forever, Jeffy. People get black eyes all the time. If they never got better the streets would be crowded with raccoon people. Soon, the raccoon people would find each other and breathe."

He was trying to make his little brother Jeffrey feel better. He is telling him that having a black eye is normal. And that everyone gets black eyes. But they all heal because if they didn't then we would all eventually have black eyes. And look like raccoons.

-Mary's quote

"So, mom, everything's ok, right? This whole cancer mistake is all sorted out?"
She looked at me like I had just asked for a cigarette. "Steven, this is no time to joke. Your brother is a very, very sick boy."
"He is? I just figured it was all a big mistake."
"Mistake? MISTAKE?"
"Well, you know, when you didn't call and all, I assumed that..."
"What do you mean, when I didn't call? You know I spoke to your father every single night." [Caroline Pg. 66-67]

Steven tried to trick himself by saying this was all a mistake the whole week his brother was gone. And when it came to the truth, he believed his lie was true. Along with that it was also his fathers fault. He had not informed Steven about his mother's calls and brother's condition. His father probably wished for it to be a mistake as well, so he didn't speak of it.

"Weird how a kid can get over looking like a raccoon just with some warm cereal"
I thought this was funny because that is just how my brother is! One time he fell on the floor and he was crying and then i told him his noodles were ready because i made them for him and he was so happy. I think this is one way how i can connect to Steven during this moment. -Erick

What I think happen here was that Steven was in denial. So he is pretending that this was all just a misunderstanding and that his little brother is not really sick. And so he starts to belive his own lie. Cause thats what he wants to belive. And I think that his dad didn' t tell Steven that his mom called because he didn't want Steven to hear the bad news. And also it might have been to painful for his dad to repeat.
- Mary

Quotes - Robyn

"Mom we were ALL too busy to notice. It's not just you. He even told me this morning that he was cold and his parts hurt, and I just thought he was Jeffrey being jeffrey. I was bummed that he interrupted my practicing to ask for breakfast. My own brother... and all he wanted was some oatmeal."

Steven was feeling guilty that he didn't notice that Jeffrey was sick, even after he was complaining about being in pain. He also felt a bit selfish since he wanted to practice his drumming instead of making his brother breakfast and all this happened. - Robyn 11/17/09

"Steven your brother is really sick.
Did I? Was it because he...?
The fall this morning had nothing to do with it."
Whew! I'm off the hook.
"But he's... really... sick."

This was when Steven found out that Jeffrey was sick. At first he was a little happy because he thought he wasn't in trouble for Jeffrey falling that morning. After that he understood how sick jeffrey really was, and he felt guilty for being relieved at first. - Robyn 11/19/09

Once I was forced to believe that Jeffery really had cancer, my mind played yet another big trick on me. I started to think that if I just made the right promises to God, he would magically make Jeffery all better again. And the promises just popped into my head, right and left, day and night. This made for a tough couple of weeks.
Poor guy! With this said, it seems like he really cared for his brother. But also that he probably wanted all this cancer chaos to stop. I guess it's normal to do that when something has happened to someone you love. He should just continue to pray and hope for the better. =] [Caroline Pg. 80]

I think that Steven is so worried and shocked that he is just coming up with idea just so that he can have some confort, that there is a way for his brother to get better. If he thinks of way to get ride of his little brother it gives him more confort cause he is thinking that he could fix what happen. Its just all cause he is indinial and wants things to be okay.
- Mary

"I was in the zone because i was doing two drum parts at once. Not even missing a beat" -p 63
I think what happened was that he wasn't having his mind on Jeffery or any other problems he was having. Doing to drum parts must have been a lot of work though. -Erick

In my opinion, the drums are Steven's only escape from reality. Cause he loves it so much that when he plays he doesn't think about any one else. I think that it is a good thing that he has something that can give him an escape. Because of all the things that are happening its good to step back. Even for a second.
- Mary

" This one is too formal.... This one is stained WHY is a dirty shirt hanging in your closet? This one is PERFECT now put it on" -pg 92
I think this shows just how picky and perfect Steven's mom has to be. I doubt that she could have anything in her house that isn't clean or neat. -Erick

He always loved it when I pretended to be one of his toys, and Matt Medic was perfect for the occasion.
Aww, he's trying to make his brother feel better with a toy doctor! What a nice big brother. [Caroline Pg. 112]

"Well, truthfully, Mrs. Galley, you may have heard about the worldwide pencil shortage. I like to think that by skipping my homework, I'm doing my little bit to conserve."
I thought that part was funny. I'm surprised the teacher didn't laugh, she just stayed silent till he said the truth. I would have laughed a bit and then asked for the truth!
[Caroline Pg. 118]

"Steven, I'm concerned about your grades, too. Your teachers asked me to be here today, because if thing don't improve, you might not be eligible to practice of preform with the All-City group"
I knew that all his missing work would jeopardize him performing! i was afraid of that. Hopefully he can balance school, music, and his family. [Caroline Pg. 122]

"Well mom ran into your mom at Shop Rite last week and..."
Wow, I would have never figured that Renee Albert was the one who told the teacher. I thought it would have been Annette, but she always asked Steven what was wrong, so she mustn't have known. [Caroline Pg. 129]

However, if you have a brother with leukemia who needs to avoid exposure to viruses, you can't BE in the same HOUSE as your parents when you have the flu. So, just when I needed my parents the most, in my hour of deepest need and intestinal crampage, they shipped me off across town to my grandpa and grandma's.
Aww, poor Steven! Just when he thought he'd gotten everything under control, he has to go to his grandparent's house! Just when he needed his parents the most. [Caroline Pg. 137]