Angst? What Angst?: Cindy has this reaction to her father after her mother's funeral. She feels as though they should keep the shutters closed and is annoyed when he doesn't seem to be more sad. She eventually learns he's putting on a brave face.
Designated Hero: Aishling slips into this on more than a few occasions. She abruptly dumps Bob for no good reason at all other than simply not enjoying bowling. Then she calls him out of the blue when she thinks Alva might be pregnant and strings him along for another few weeks before dumping him again.
Cindy. Let's face it - you're fifteen and your mother has just died of an illness and your father marries one of your teachers in less than a year because he's gotten her pregnant. Then they all have to move in together. Her temper is a little understandable.
Alva, as annoying as she can be, she's also a young girl who still misses her father and apparently cries every night.
Values Dissonance: Any non-Irish readers would probably be a little shocked at some of the casual racism displayed in the book. Cindy's mother was American and Cindy frequently recalls her father trying to get her to stop pronouncing her words with an American accent. He also insisted her name not be spelt 'Cyndi' because it was "too American". It's simply an Irish thing that anyone from a foreign country is expected to lose their accent and start using Irish slang words and pronunciations. Also Cindy mentions her friends going out drinking after getting their exam results - her friends would be fifteen at the time which would be a surprise to anyone not familiar with Irish drinking culture. Cindy herself also gladly has plenty of wine at meals without her father objecting. Alva is fourteen and has also had champagne a few times.