At the beginning of the novel Ruthie and AJ just know eachother from chemistry class. AJ doesn't think too high about her and calls her "studious chick" (p.6) and he isn' t even sure if her name is Ruthie. Referring to page 6 he is ennoyed about her being so proper but she is ok for him. He can't understand that she hangs out with white people and that she acts like them. After the accident also at the very beginning they get to know each other. That's when they talk about what they first thought about eachother p.11 "You're usually so conceited... Because of football and all..." - "Hey, why you talk so proper". And then on page 12 AJ thinks about her "She was about my skin tone, medium, with shoulder-length hair.... She was kind of pretty but in a calm way. I don't think I could ever be attracted to her. She'd make me too uncomfortable. She was already making me feel stupid." That shows that AJ isn't used to be around people like that and that he was very superficial. Ruthie knows that AJ is a very good-looking guy but his arrogance disturbs her too much. Ruthie finds her friend's thought about her and AJ as a couple ridiculous. She can't imagine her and AJ could be a couple one time, p. 38 "Yeah, sure. We have nothing in common!". AJ has kind of respect for her, p.46 "I didn't wanna tell her I just didn't feel like coming." and he wan't to take an advice of her about her felings to Erika . But when they start talking about love AJ's thoughts obviously show that he also can't imagine liking Ruthie, p. 47 "I guess it would be hard for a guy to love a girl as prissy as her." He doesn't appreciate that Ruthie suggests to help him with chemistry and just forgets his book, that makes Ruthie pretty mad but as she leaves his house he walks her to her car, so he shows thathe can be also sort of polite.
As in the end of part one AJ and Ruthie talk in chemistry. Ruthie is getting on his nerves and he gets even mad because he doen't understand her opinions for example about his plans to go to the proms and when she tells him that she picked Anthony for tutoring he calls her "Miss Know-it-all!" . Referring to line 66 "Man, I couldn't wait for this period to be over so I could get away from her" the reader knows that AJ still doesn't like her that much. Ruthie isn't as the others girls that admire him so she thinks AJ is acting so cold to her because of that. AJ gets very jealous as he watches Ruthie and Anthony sitting in his living room learning so he gets mad and has even vivious thoughts " Man, I wanted to wring that little neck of hers!" but after he shouts at her against his expection she just answers in her calm way and he realizes that she really cares about his brother. A striking example for Ruthie's feelings about AJ in that time is to be found on p. 75: "If I had a hit list, AJ Johnson would certainly be on top of it! For the past two weeks he's made my life hell! Well, chemistry at least. He never helped me with any labwork and always found something to criticize bout me- my hair, my clothes, my speech, you name it! And he grew espacially cold whenever I tutored Anthony." After Ruthie gets to know that AJ's mom has killed herself AJ and her get in a fight in school and she menions it, they stopp fighting and AJ's thoughts about Ruthie changes "But Ruthie, that was one brave girl! Any other girl would've went running. But not Ruthie." They talk in a cafeteria and there the ice breakes between them. There she makes him think about his mom and his feelings about it.
Part three is the most important part of the novel, espacially for the developement of Ruthie and AJ. They change and their realtionship does so too. After the fight with Franco AJ doesn't come to school and Ruthie is worried about him, he already knows him good enough that she finds him. At the cemetry AJ tells Ruthie more about his mom and there they come closer. AJ recognizes that Ruthie does care about him and that she was the first that has asked him about his mom. There AJ has his first thoughts about loving Ruthie but he thinks he wouldn't be good enough for her. According to p. 98 and 99 for example "There was no way anyone like her could like me" the reader has a view of AJ feelings about him and Ruthie. He has inferiority feelings but Ruthie doesn't think like he does. AJ gets to know Ruthie's family and his mind begins to change "No wonder se was such a good kid"(p.101) and he recognizes the diferences between her and Erika. He is real cold and even mean to her in the next days.Ruthie suggests AJ to let Anthony stay at her house and from that there begins a friendship between AJ and Ruthie. Ruthie likes him and her friends recognized that and the fact that AJ has changed, p. 116 "I smiled,thinking about him. "He really is a nice guy, once you get to know him."- "He seemed to act differently around you..." And again her friend Andrea asks her if she could imagine to date AJ but this time Ruthie jst answers that he has another girlfriend. That shows that she is interested in him but thinks that she hasn't a chance because of Erika. On p. 121 Ruthie and AJ come more closer and Ruthie knows that she is in Love with him. There she massage his neck at the track race and she can feel how she gets nervous and how her feelings has changed toward him, "..feeling my skin tingle from where he'd touched me. I closed my eyes, feeling my face flush for thinking what I was thinking..." She is going not to show her feelings. In the same time just a few days later after AJ came back from Florida the reader knows that AJ is also attracked to her, p 128 "As usual, she had on a nice outfit.Man , what I wouldn't do to see her in a miniskirt, or even in a T-shirt and jeans" and "She smiled a real pretty smile." AJ'sopinion about Erika and the fellas changes completly but that change makes him be scared, p. 129 and 130 "It sounded like something Ruthie'd say. But Erika wasn't Ruthie." and "They'd never believe me and Ruthie was just friends. But I don't know what's wrong with me, why I was feelig so weird. Maybe it was justa phase or something. But to tell the truth, it was kinda scary."
Finally Ruthie and AJ start dating. AJ comes to her house for talking and there he talks about his new opinion and what he finally recogniced and accepted, how he feels about Ruthie, for example p. 137 "You're so smart. Not just book.smart, but life.smart. That's kinda scary for a guy, you know. You can make a guy feel like he ain't good enough for you."
Part IV and Part V
AJ brakes up with Erika and in the fight he mentions on of te reasons why he loves Ruthie "..Ruthie, she understand me." From that part to the end there is no big developement between AJ and Ruthie. AJ knows that he has never felt like that for a girl. He enjoys the feeling of loving someone who loves him back. At the end of the novel the two of them are confronted with the problem of seperation after the graduation.
In conclusion Ruthie and AJ began a relationship from class mates, to friends and finally to partners .