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As the author has stated in several interviews, its influences are many. They include the story of Theseus and the Minotaur, the author's experience with a father in the military, and her perception that, when watching television, the images of reality television and war were intermingling in her mind. The novel functions as a traditional story and as an exploration of adolescent identity. However, its real success lies in how it intermingles severe social critiques through these common themes.