| Quote #7
Ruthie, tall skinny lady with red lipstick and blue babushka, one blue sock and one green because she forgot, is the only grown-up we know who likes to play. (26.1)
Ruthie is Esperanza's first adult friend. Esperanza likes her because she's eccentric and not afraid to buck the expectations of friends and neighbors – in that way, she's a lot like Esperanza.
| Quote #8
Cheryl, who is not your friend anymore, not since last Tuesday before Easter, not since the day you made her ear bleed, not since she called you that name and bit a hole in your arm and you looked as if you were going to cry and everyone was waiting and you didn't, you didn't, Sally, not since then, you don't have a best friend to lean against the schoolyard fence with, to laugh behind your hands at what the boys say. There is no one to lend you her hairbrush. (32.5)
Esperanza notices that Sally might have a vacancy in the best friend department.
| Quote #9
And anyway I don't like carnivals. I went to be with you because you laugh on the tilt-a-whirl, you throw your head back and laugh. I hold your change, wave, count how many times you go by. […] I like to be with you, Sally. You're my friend. (39.2)
Esperanza's willingness to do something she doesn't like just to be with her friend Sally hints at a sort of unbalanced relationship. Sally gets to ride the tilt-a-whirl while Esperanza holds her change? How is that fair?