Holling Hoodhood is a seventh grader who goes to Camillo Jr. High. He is a great runner on the school varsity team and "runs like Jesse Owens". He was selfish, and judged others quickly at the beginning of the book but learned to see the world in a different way later in the book. Some of his significant events include him learning Shakespeare, asking out Maryl Lee, helping his sister, and helping his friends and his teacher.
Maryl Lee goes to the same school as Holling, in the same class. She has "fair skin and auburn hair." Her father is an architect that is a rival to Holling's father. Despite her father's disagreement with Mr. Hoodhood, she has had a crush on Holling for years and now she is Holling's girlfriend. Holling's signature gift to her is a rose and coke. Maryl Lee is mostly a kind and smart student, but can be fierce when she must be.
Mrs. Baker is Holling's and Maryl Lee's teacher. On Wednesday afternoons, she would have Holling do chores for her classroom, but later she taught him the value of Shakespeare. At first, she didn't like Holling's actions, but later got a personal relationship with him. She is like a parent, tough like a father and caring like a mother.