Ben Finney is super dreamy, which is interesting given the fact that we have no idea what he looks like. We do know that he likes to draw pictures. And we know that he's Mary Lou Finney's cousin, and he's living at her house for the time being. But where's he from? And where are his parents?
Whatever we do or don't know about Ben, the most important thing about him is that he likes Sal. A lot. Ben follows her around, and when he's close by, Sal can smell his grapefruit-scented hair. He kisses her on the collarbone once, and on the ear, and… okay, we won't spoil that part for you yet.
All in all, though, Ben's a little mysterious. He's living with the Finneys for some reason, and for a long time we don't know why. It's only when Sal and Phoebe go to the nearby college to find Mrs. Winterbottom, that they find out. They run into Ben on the bus, and he's on his way to visit his mother at the hospital. She's in the psychiatric ward, and we can assume that she's being treated for a mental illness, which explains why Ben is staying with the Finneys.
So Ben's been dealing with some pretty hefty issues of his own, just like Sal and Phoebe. Yet he always seems so cheery, so good-natured. Maybe he knows the same secret Gram and Gramps do – that it's fine to feel sad, but you also have to let yourself be happy, too.
Whatever troubles Ben faces, what makes us love him most is how much he loves our gal Sal. He draws her pictures, he holds her hand, and he even gives her a pet chicken. He is romance central. Choo-choo!