Teresa has the dubious honor of being the only girl to ever enter the Glade. As such, she is treated more like an evil talisman than like a person for her entire tenure there. As soon as she arrives she is reduced to a piece of meat:
"I got dibs!"
"What's she look like?"
"How old is she?" (8.66)
Being the only girl thrust into the midst of sixty teenage, hormone-addled boys is dangerous enough. Throw their precarious situation into the mix, and the fact that her arrival triggers a mysterious set of events, and it makes her public enemy numero uno.
In fact, it's hard to tell if the distrust that the boys show toward her derives from her baffling arrival or simply her gender. When she slips into a coma and is brought to the Homestead for medical care, they place a round-the-clock guard on her—and it's not clear whether it's for her sake or the boys'. When she finally wakes up, she is thrown into the Slammer for no reason other than Alby's distrust. If she had been a boy do you think she would've been treated the same way? Or would it have been more like Thomas—accepted but only tolerated?
To her credit, Teresa handles this discrimination with grace and courage. She largely ignores the pointed stares and extra attention, and seems mostly focused on Thomas and piecing together the meaning of her mangled memories. To be frank, she deserves a medal for not throwing an epic pity party and deciding to just let the boys hash things out. Instead, she keeps her chin high and gets to work deciphering the Maze. You go, girl.
Thomas and Teresa, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G… Okay, so the most they really do is hold hands, but there is a definite attraction between these two. They know that they must've been something to each other before their memories were wiped, and it's more than just their telepathic connection. Chemistry sizzles whenever they are close enough to touch, but neither one knows whether this is the comfortable brother-and-sister type of chemistry where it feels like home to just be around each other, or if it's more romantic in nature.
What makes this problematic is Thomas's desire to be around her without attracting attention to himself from the other boys. Thomas is scared about what will happen if the other boys know that he and Teresa have a thing for each other.
For her part, Teresa also handles this like a champ. She openly seeks Thomas out for comfort and for talking things out without showing any sense of shame. She is probably the most straightforward person in the bunch because she does things that she feels are right despite what other people will say. Maybe it is her situation, or maybe it's just some innate strength of character, but Teresa is one self-assured young woman.
Teresa and Thomas's connection is also bolstered by their telepathic abilities. Even though at first it really creeps Thomas out, Teresa insists on using their skill to their advantage, even in a state of semi-consciousness. Seriously—she is one tough cookie.
As we've said, Teresa is pretty motivated. She just wants Thomas to wake up and help her figure out the whole dilemma they've found themselves in. For whatever reason, she still retains a few of her memories from the world pre-Glade and wants to use them no matter what.
So her role in the book is to act as a pseudo-guide for Thomas, someone he can bounce ideas off of without judgment or disparagement. She is an automatic team member, contributing new facts and theories and then building off of Thomas's.
We have a feeling that this relationship will develop much, much more in the second book, which chronicles their adventures after they've escaped the Glade. But for now, the two starry-eyed kids will have to make do with holding hands and giving themselves headaches talking telepathically.