The narrator of the story, she is fourteen years old. She is murdered at the beginning of the novel and narrates from heaven. She spends much of her time telling the story of how her family and loved ones cope with her death. Her curiosity also leads her to find out more about her killer. In addition, she narrates her own progression through heaven as she matures there. Although Susie never grows up, her voice is a mix of her adolescent whimsy and her growing maturity acquired in heaven.
The Salmons' neighbor and Susie’s murderer. He builds dollhouses for a living. After Susie's death she finds out that Mr. Harvey has murdered a number of girls and women. He always takes a souvenir from each victim. He isolates himself from society and spends much of his time alone.
Susie's younger sister. She is about 1 year younger than Susie, and is 13 when the novel begins. Lindsey is very athletic and plays soccer, and is considered a gifted student. Susie often lives vicariously through her sister as she grows up. Susie's death forces Lindsey to become more independent and to take on a parenting role in her family. She rarely admits that Susie's death had a profound effect on her, but she thinks of Susie often.
Susie, Lindsey and Buckley's father. He is deeply saddened by Susie's death and does everything he can to avenge it. He also feels guilty that he was unable to be there for her when she needed him. While he tries to focus his attention on his two surviving children, he always finds himself thinking of Susie as well.
Susie, Lindsey and Buckley's mother. After Susie's death she distances herself from her family and begins to resent her role as mother. She leaves the family mid-novel in order to pursue her life as an individual and to escape from the pain of Susie's death.
Susie's younger brother. He is four when the novel begins and does not fully understand Susie's death. To add to his confusion, his family hides Susie's death from him in an effort to protect him. Buckley has a close relationship with his father, but he grows up angry and feels that his father loves Susie the most.
The boy that Susie has a crush on before her death. He gave Susie her first kiss. The Singhs live in the same neighborhood as the Salmons. They are Indian, and Susie found him exotic because he had lived in both India and in London. Susie continues to watch him after her death, and often longs for him.
The detective working on Susie's case. He develops a close relationship with the Salmons. He feels guilty that he is unable to solve the case and continues to think of Susie long after the case is closed. he was married once but his wife committed suicide, and he thinks of her as a case that he should be able to solve. He falls in love with Abigail Salmon and they have a brief affair, but Abigail only uses him to forget her pain.
As Susie leaves the earth, her soul accidentally touches Ruth. After this experience, Ruth finds out a lot of information about Susie and later invests much of her time in finding places where other women and girls have been killed. Ruth becomes good friends with Ray Singh and they often talk about Susie.
The Salmon family dog.
Abigail's mother. She is characterized by her excessive vanity and her frequent drinking. Despite these flaws, Lynn is supportive of the family after Susie's death and helps them cope.
Ray Singh's mother. She is characterized by her beauty and her former days as a dancer. She offers support to the Salmons, but she does so in very subtle ways; small conversations and words of advice, her calm manner, and the apple pies she bakes and leaves on their doorstep.
Lindsey's boyfriend, and later her husband. He is thirteen when the novel begins. He is the closest person to Lindsey. Like Lindsey, he is considered exceptionally smart, or "gifted."
Samuel's older brother. He dropped out of high school and now owns a motorcycle repair shop. Several of the female characters find him attractive. Samuel and Buckley look up to him. Hal becomes close to the Salmons because of his brother's relationship with Lindsey.
Susie's biology teacher; also her favorite teacher. His daughter is sick with Leukemia and dies not long after Susie is killed.
A woman from the Salmon’s neighborhood, and a therapist. While at the crime scene, she identifies Susie’s copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
The home economics teacher at the junior high.
Susie’s intake counselor in heaven. When she was living she worked as a social worker.
A kid at school who would pretend to inject people with embalming fluid. Later he is at the Gifted Symposium with Lindsey and Samuel and is somewhat of a loner.
Susie's best friend in life.
Buckley's close friend as a child.
The English teacher at the junior high.
A boy in Susie’s grade who is said to walk like a girl
A girl in Susie’s grade who is taunted because of her large breasts.
The boys’ soccer coach. Lindsey is fond of him because he encouraged her to try out for the team and lets her play on the team with the guys.
Principal of the junior high
The Salmons' neighbors. They have a gazebo that Susie likes. Also, Mr. O'Dwyer can sometimes be heard singing Irish ballads.
Formerly a senile neighbor of the Salmons. Now she is the oldest member of Susie’s heaven.
Susie's best friend in heaven. She chose her name from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's.
The Salmons' neighbors. Their dog finds Susie’s elbow.
The Salmons' neighbors. They have a daughter, Grace, who goes to private school.
The family who lives in the house by the sinkhole.
A boy from the Salmons’ neighborhood. He is said to hurt animals and kill animals, but the true culprit was Mr. Harvey. Joe is sent to the military when he is a teenager.
The janitor at the junior high.
Ray’s homeroom teacher, known to have a perpetual hangover
The discipline officer at the junior high
The art teacher that transferred to their school from a Catholic school and is more conservative than the last art teachers.
The social sciences teacher.
Ray’s father and a professor.
The pastor at the Salmons' church.
Buckley’s kindergarten teacher.
A girl who almost became one of Mr. Harvey’s victims. She was not killed—he let her go but kept the heel of her shoe.
One of Mr. Harvey’s victims. She was forty-nine years old and she was Mr. Harvey’s landlady. After they made love he smashed her skull in and left her body by a creek in Pennsylvania in 1960.
One of Mr. Harvey’s victims. She was thirteen years old and was killed in Delaware in 1967.
One of Mr. Harvey’s victims. She was eight years old and was killed in Delaware in 1963.
One of Mr. Harvey’s victims. She was twelve years old,and was killed in Delaware in 1969. He fell asleep on top of her after he raped her and she suffocated.
One of Mr. Harvey’s victims. She was six years old, was the youngest of his victims, and was killed in Buck's County Pennsylvania. He lured her into a cave he built inside a hill.
One of Mr. Harvey’s victims. She was thirteen years old and was killed in Connecticut in 1971. She was raped and strangled.
Sophie Cichetti’s son. He tells Hal Heckler he thinks his mother was killed by a boarder who made dollhouses; Hal connects this to Susie’s murderer.
The nurse at the hospital that helped Jack both times he was there—after the baseball bat incident and the heart attack.
The Lovely Bones Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Lovely Bones is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The three traditional formats of a plot with a dead narrator are biography (when told post-mortem this is known as autothanatography), murder mystery or ghost story. Sebold’s novel does not conform to any of these—the story is not a...