Study Guide

Todd in The Usual Rules

By Joyce Maynard


While spending Thanksgiving with her grandmother in San Francisco, Wendy meets her very own skater boy, but thankfully he's not a jerk like the one in the Avril Lavigne song. Todd is a runaway kid, but Wendy sees that he's a good person and trusts him right away. She is able to share her story with him because he's a stranger and someone who's also been through hard times. They both feel older than they are because of all they've experienced:

I guess you're still thirteen, huh?

It's my birthday in three weeks.

When difficult things happen it makes you seem a lot older, he said. A lot of people take me for older than fifteen. (29.213-215)

Todd isn't like other kids who look at Wendy strangely when they hear about her mother. He's been a runaway for a while now and has issues with his family—except for his brother Kevin, who he's been looking for all over the country. Because Todd's lost someone close to him, too, he and Wendy understand each other and can comfort one another. Their connection goes beyond friendship, and when Todd comes to visit for Christmas, he and Wendy kiss. Aw.