Meet the Characters:

Vale Shumway is not your average high school student. An aro-ace girl who is both outdoorsy and book smart, she is the subject of constant teasing by the bullies in the class. Ash is her oldest friend and the two of them rely on one another for support... especially when things go terribly wrong!

“With her auburn hair pulled back into a sensible ponytail and her cheeks flushed with color, she looked younger than sixteen and more like the kid he’d grown up with. The spray of freckles over her nose was just as clear as it had been in kindergarten, her hair just as curly. Even then, Vale had been more than a best friend, her role extending into Ash’s personal protector. She covered for him when he was late to class and reminded him when homework was due. In some ways, Vale was exactly the same as she’d been more than a decade ago.”

Ash Hamid is a gamer through and through. Vale’s best friend since kindergarten, Ash has spent his life trying to laugh his way out of difficult situations. He just wishes that it was as easy to protect Vale from the torment of the class bullies as it is to brush off his own insecurities.

“If Ashton Hamid had a patronus, it was an overgrown Great Dane. He was all long arms and knobby-kneed legs, bony elbows and size sixteen feet. The resemblance extended to his face too. His brown eyes seemed perennially tired, punctuated by drooping lids and sloping black brows. Chin-length hair flopped over his eyes and behind his ears. His clothes—bought to fit his six and a half foot frame—always looked three sizes too big.”