- Based on a Dream: Anderson had a dream of a girl crying and she based Melinda off of that girl.
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory/Faux Symbolism: Hairwoman lives and breathes these tropes when she studies The Scarlet Letter believing that there's a symbolic meaning behind every last detail Hawthorne added.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Laurie Halse Anderson has blogged about real-life teen rape incidences that have ample Karma Houdini and make you lament humanity.
- Implied Love Interest: Very, very vaguely implied with David, Melinda's lab partner and one of her only true friends. It's more prominent in the book, with a few cute moments on Valentine's Day and mention that David watches her when he thinks she doesn't notice. For rather understandable reasons, though, it never really goes anywhere.
- She Really Can Act: Kristen Stewart, since this was her first film role before Twilight. Stewart in an interview mentioned that she had trouble finding roles as a child actor because she's serious, and kids have to be funny on television.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Melinda having to draw trees for her art class.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?: Made fun of through the English teacher's opinion of The Scarlet Letter.
- The Woobie: Oh, Melinda...