Violet Markey, Bartlett High School senior, was in a car accident with her sister, Eleanor Markey, who died. Violet is an aspiring writer, but at the start of the novel, she has withdrawn from social activities, hobbies, and friends. Theodore Finch meets her on the ledge of the bell tower at school, and they slowly begin a friendship that evolves into a relationship.
Finch, who has an absentee mother and an abusive father, suffers from social alienation and an undiagnosed bipolar disorder. His life changes because of his relationship with Violet.
Mr. Ted Finch
Mr. Ted Finch displays traits of bipolar disorder; he also drinks. The degree of the drinking is unspecified, but he hits Finch on multiple occasions. He is currently married to his second wife and raising her son, who may or may not be his child.
Mrs. Finch is a single mother, working two jobs (in a bookstore and as a realtor). She is largely in denial about Finch's condition and, when he is presumed to have died, she chooses to ask Violet to go identify him, rather than go herself.
Eleanor Markey is already deceased when the novel begins. It is the occasion of her birthday that has caused Violet to climb the bell tower. She was, with Violet, co-author and creator of a Web magazine. Violet wears Eleanor's glasses for much of the novel.