Don't let the cutesie wording of our first theme fool you; having problems with your parents is one of the main issues underlying our entire story. Matt is working aboard the Aurora to provide for his family, but really he's there because it is the one place where he can feel connected with his father who has tragically died by falling off said airship in mid-flight (whoops). One of the main hardships that he has to overcome is learning that he doesn't need to try and outrun his sadness about losing his father; he needs to learn how to accept his loss and be happy for the memories (and dreams) that he does have with him.
Questions About Daddy Issues
Why can't Matt find any comfort with his family? Why is he forced to seek out where his father worked?
Why are Kate's parents so disapproving of her?
Does Matt's attempt to outrun sadness work?
Who has the better outcome at the end regarding their parental problems?
Chew on This
Matt has it worse than Kate, because his father is dead, not absentee.
Kate's got it worse than Matt because although she still has both of her parents they ignore her completely—and she's saddled with Miss Simpkins.