Ana is a logophile, she loves words and hesitates not to use the 'big' ones! Such as "ludicrous"... And she does like to talk, as she states, it is a "nervous habit," this "filling the air." I can relate. I was all about that when younger. It is only after reaching age 45 or so that I truly learned not to panic and just start talking, but rather to wait and listen first! :) (And, no, I do not manage to do this ALL the time, but I usually remember... As with anything else, the more I practice, the better I get.)
This is a city girl sent to do a country girl's job! Ana is able to connect with Emmett and Abbie through music and art, but admits she knows nothing about farming and isn't particularly interested, however, she is motivated to try simply to avoid group home placement again, if nothing else. Those connections both help alleviate some of the tension created when Ana accidentally pulls all the parsley plants rather than pulling the "weeds" from among the parsley plants. This reminded me of a former co-worker of mine whose husband finally forbade her from weeding in the garden after pulling up the pepper plants instead of the weeds twice in one season! Hey, if you don't know, you don't know! They should have done a better job of educating her before placing her out in the field, in my opinion.
Alder is a typical old mountain man who knows the natural world like no other! He even gives Abbie and Ana a 'tour' of his beehives and Ana learns that bees die as a result of stinging someone. On the way home they discuss his statement that bees are really "angels on earth." Ana:
It is actually Ana who saves the day for Garber Farms. She acts selflessly and through her artwork and caring, helps the other workers feel like family. But she proves she is not perfect, particularly in her relationship with Cole. I especially appreciated the way that Teran juxtaposed the different lives of these teens and the way they all felt unhappy and unloved with their families and 'homes.' Though Ana reminded them that even having a "home" about which to be unhappy and dissatisfied was an improvement upon her own situation. Ana was quite empathetic and accepting of others, as proven by her accompanying Brady into school on the first day, as well as willingly accepting Rye's personal disclosure to her. She also had some almost unbelievable experiences within foster homes regarding lack of food and illogical long-term 'punishments.' I loved the fact that she made sure her case worker was well aware of the horrid conditions in these certain homes. She wanted to be an agent for change...in a good way. As she stated: "Sorry, but not sorry," for helping the younger children get something to eat even if it was against "the rules" imposed by the foster parent.