I think the two most influential characters are Junior and Rowdy, Juniors best friend. Junior is a skinny, uncool guy and Rowdy is a tough, hardcore kind of guy. Even though their differences, they were still best friends. A punch in the face was a sign of love to them. They were different kind of people but had a feeling deep in their gut's which made the best of friends. In the beginning of the story, Junior as I said is the nerdy guy trying to join the basketball team in Reardan (yeah, right!). Towards the end, he proves himself to be brave, best player in the basketball team but most of all, just wants to be good ol' pals with Rowdy again who hates him too ever since he left the rez. It's amazing to read how different the Indians and the American's were. The Spokane tribe was a crazy half drunken tribe and attending at least 42 funerals in an entire 13 years was no big thing. Yes they were crazy, but they had love. A love they had for each other in the tribe. They show it very differently and they're proud of it. Rowdy changed because in the beginning he was tough and a bit mean, typical Rowdy, but at the end of the book he forgave Junior which was a major event.
The problem of the story is solved by Rowdy and Junior becoming best buds again. Also Junior forgets about her sister dying in an accident in another country. He was proud to be an "explorer of the world"- going to Reardan and facing all the challenges. In truth, I really don't know what I would change about the book because everything fits in nicely. Even though this is pretty minor, I would not include the smart and intelligent guy in Reardan as Junior's friend because he didn't act as any major character in the book and wouldn't have made a difference if he wasn't included in the book.
When I closed the book, I didn't feel worried or scared for Junior, I felt proud for what decisions and choices he had made.