Took a Level in Badass: A month and a half at Camp Green Lake has him become stronger, lose a lot of weight and be more confident and happy with himself.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: Can be a bit of one, which sometimes gets him in trouble. He mistakenly assumed Camp Green Lake would be a nice place (it wasn't), that Livingston's shoes would solve his family's poverty (they got him arrested), and that him and Zero meeting was destiny (perhaps it might).
Hoist by His Own Petard: The "sploosh" he eats after running away saves him from starving, but it also fills his stomach with a century's worth of bacteria.
Honor Before Reason: After running away from Camp Green Lake, he refuses to return despite dying of thirst out in the desert.
Missing Mom: His mother was frequently missing from his life, ordering him to stay in one point and not leave until she returned for him. One day she never returned. At the end of the book, he hires a team of investigators to find her, and is reunited with his mother again.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Everyone thinks Zero's an idiot, since he never reacts to anything they say to him, but he really does it because he's knows it's smarter to keep his mouth shut.
The Reveal: He's descended from Madame Zeroni, and the real thief of Clyde Livingston's shoes.
The Big Guy: Big enough that his school's coach keeps begging for him to be on the football team.
Nonindicative Name: Armpit is explained to have gotten his name not from being smelly, but because a scorpion once stung him in the armpit and he wouldn't stop complaining about it. (In the movie, it is because he's smelly.)
X-Ray (Rex Washburn)
The Leader: Of the D Tent boys, and comes close to being the leader among all the boys at the camp.
Jerkass: He's nice if you agree with him. Don't, and have fun watching the rest of the camp abandon you with him.
After he gets out of Camp Green Lake, he clearly has learned nothing and goes back to the same get-rich-quick schemes.
Not What It Looks Like: X-Ray was arrested for selling what everyone thought was cocaine and marijuana, but it turned out to be chopped up aspirin and parsley. However, selling aspirin without a pharmaceutical license was still illegal.
The Old Convict: A form of it. He's adjusted the best to Camp Green Lake, too well in Stanley's opinion, and thus is the best at coercing the others to agree with him.
Berserk Button: DO NOT touch his TV, or he will crush your hand into the dial button so hard it will cut open your hand.
Beware the Nice Ones: Zigzag may seem harmlessy weird, but smart campers realize that the crazy ones are worse than the mean ones.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: He has frizzy hair and a long neck, reads an old TV guide like he's reading it for the first time every time, watches the broken TV in the Wreck Room, and always knows what the time and date is.
Screw This Im Out Of Here: At one point he tried to escape Camp Green Lake by hitching a ride on the supply truck. An hour later, he showed up at dinner and asked for the ketchup, the others going along with it and not asking what happened.
Sticky Fingers: Where his nickname comes from. He was arrested for stealing $12,000 worth of merchandise from stores and claims his fingers are like little magnets. Even at Camp Green Lake, he can't resist stealing things.
The inmate who previously occupied Stanley's place, until he was taken to the hospital.
Pet the Dog: He gives a few favors to Stanley, such as offering him a ride back in his truck or giving him extra water after Mr. Sir stops giving him any.
Playful Hacker: In The Guide to Surviving Camp Green Lake, it's revealed he was expelled for hacking his college's database and changing the grades. This gets him hired by the Warden.
Token Good Teammate: His kindness contrasts the sternness of Mr. Sir and the Warden. It's all an act, though.
Wide-Eyed Idealist: He often assures the boys that they've still got a life past Camp Green Lake, even though it feels like they've been digging forever. At one point he even holds a meeting to ask them what job they hope to get.
Portrayed By: Sigourney Weaver
The Warden runs Camp Green Lake, and owns the desert it's on. For the most part she's never seen by the campers, and they and the staff know better than to mess with her.
Big Bad: She's the head of the camp, and everyone else answers to her.
Catch Phrase: "Excuse me?" When she says this, you know that you are digging two holes: the one you're supposed to do, and your grave.
Faux Affably Evil: Her politeness and casual manner doesn't fool anyone. As soon as she faces you, it's clear who definitely is the one in charge.
I Never Told You My Name: Somehow she knows Stanley's nickname even though he never met her before. When he asks the others about this, they tell him she has tiny security cameras.
Samus Is a Girl: She's not revealed to be a woman until a third of the way into the book.
Residents of Green Lake
"Kissing Kate" Katherine Barlow
An infamous outlaw of the Wild West who robbed settlers and kissed the men she killed. This feared bandit, however, used to be a sweet schoolteacher who brewed delicious spiced peaches in the idyllic town of Green Lake.
An Egyptian fortuneteller and mentor to Elya Yelnats, responsible for the curse on the Yelnats family. She disapproves of his romantic longing for Myra Menke, but helped him anyway in making him a more attractive suitor.