The novel captures a single week in the lives of thirteen-year-old boys on the cusp of maturity. The novel may be read as detailing the loss of innocence, or, alternatively, as a tribute to boyhood innocence. While some characters value innocence and youth above all else, another is eager to rush into adulthood. These issues gain traction with the existence of a carousel that can age or make young a person at will. Just what the relationship is between innocence and youth is tricky, and the novel leaves us with no clear answer to this question.
Jim much less innocent than his friend Will.
Despite his desire to grow older, Jim is actually just as innocent a little boy as his friend Will.