These are minor characters in the Chrissa Maxwell books and movie.


Amanda is Chrissa's best friend and still lives in Iowa. She is blonde and slightly plump.

She makes Chrissa a friendship bracelet. In the movie, she comes to visit Chrissa, Gwen, and Sonali in Edgewater and is briefly seen.

Mr. Beck

Mr. Beck is Chrissa's fourth-grade homeroom teacher and swim coach. He is African-American. He's married, as mentioned when he says he is going home right after school for a Valentine's Day date with his wife.

He is portrayed by Don Franklin in the movie.

Mrs. James

Tara's mom who owns and runs three hair salon and spas. She thinks that Tara can do no wrong.

She isn't seen in the movie.

Tara James

Tara James is the leader of the Queen Bees, which is usually called the Mean Bees, and Chrissa's main antagonist. She has blonde hair, blue eyes, and is described as very petite and very pretty.

She had been friends with Sonali since preschool; in the movie, the three girls have all known each other from preschool. Tara is very spiteful and malicious, and goes out of her way to bully Gwen and Chrissa. Tara thinks of herself as perfect and better than other students, and her friends' reassurance only boosts her arrogance. Tara's attitude is enforced by the fact that her mother thinks she can do no wrong. Tara is on the swim team and competes fiercely with Chrissa; they are the two best swimmers.

Her mother owns and runs several hairdressing studios and salons. (In the film, her mother is a hairdresser). She uses this to persuade Gwen into letting her style her hair, which is how she is able to cut off Gwen's hair poorly. She also taunts Tyler into doing a difficult dive without supervision that leads to physical injury.

In the movie, Tara is portrayed by Adair Tishler


A friend of Tyler's and a student in Chrissa's class. He is African-American.

He is played by Christain Pikes in the movie.

Jadyn Johnson

Jadyn Johnson is Tara's friend and a fellow member of the Queen Bees. She has dark-brown hair and jade-green eyes. She does whatever Tara says, and thinks that Tara is beyond perfect and will do whatever she is told to do. Chrissa thinks she talks with an upward inflection so as to make every sentence sound like a question. She has a pink Motorola RAZR phone in the movie, like Sonali. Jadyn is very skilled with computers.

In the movie, Jadyn is portrayed by Shelby Harmon; she has blonde hair and brown eyes and her name is spelled Jayden.

Mr. and Daria Johnson

The Johnsons are Jaydn's parents, and both are are computer experts who do Web design. They helped Mr. Beck set up a message board for the swim team. Their house is filled with printouts and computer equipment.

Mr. Johnson is seen wearing a Minnesota Twins cap and might be a fan. He is described as being bald and thick-necked.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are not characters in the movie.

Louise Hanlon

Chrissa's maternal widowed grandmother, whom Chrissa calls "Nana." Louise raises mini-llamas and spins their fur into yarn; she and her late husband used to raise full llamas until his illness and later death. She often gives Chrissa advice about friendship and adjusting to their new home.

She is portrayed by ​Michael Learned in the movie.

Mrs. Matthews

Sonali's mother. Her parents are from India and she is a realtor. She has two older daughters who are already in college.

She becomes good friends with Gwen's mother after helping the Thompsons find an apartment. Initially, she is shown to be very disapproving of Sonali’s friendship with Tara and Jadyn, and it is only after Sonali becomes Chrissa and Gwen’s friend that she changes her mind, and appears to be proud of her daughter.

Mr. Matthews

Sonali's father. He is some kind of businessman (in one scene, he wears a tie and has "well-groomed fingernails").

He isn't seen in the film.

Meg Maxwell (née Hanlon)

Meg Maxwell is Chrissa's mother. She has dark hair, and works as a doctor at St. Luke's Hospital in Edgewater, Minnesota. Louise Hanlon is her mother.

In the movie, when Chrissa quits the swim team because of Tara, Meg helps Chrissa realize that this has made her act as less than she is and tells her about how the kids were mean to her when she was a kid. She was getting the highest grades in her class, her classmates started calling her names like “Egghead”, “Brainiac”, “Bookworm” and “Miss Square”. This led to her purposefully failing in order to make them stop teasing her. It was later that she realized that these actions made her feel less than who she was, and tells her daughter that it’s never smart to be less than who you are, or to let anyone take anything away from you.

She is portrayed by Annabeth Gish in the movie.

Paul Maxwell

Chrissa's father. He is a ceramic artist and makes pottery under the name of Maxwell Pottery.

He is played by Timothy Bottoms in the movie.

Tyler Maxwell

Chrissa's brother. He is eleven months older and in the fifth grade. Tyler is somewhat nerdy and specializes his knowledge in astronomy. He doesn't easily pick up on body language and isn't so smart at figuring out other kids, which is how the Queen Bees use him to get to Chrissa.

He is played by Austin Thomas in the movie.

Mrs. Rundell

Chrissa's art teacher. She is rather eccentric and has a "magic" wand she waves around in class. Chrissa loves art class and Mrs. Rundell is among her favorite people at Edgewater Elementary.

She is played by Jennifer Tilly in the movie.

Janine Thompson

Gwen's mother.

She and Gwen had to live together in their car for several months after they lost their house, due to the loss of her husband. (Mr. Thompson left her in the books after becoming unemployed, but it is implied that he has died in the movie.) Once winter arrived, Janine and Gwen went to the homeless shelter, Sunrise House. Sunrise House helped her get a new job and, near the end of Chrissa (and the movie), move into an apartment.

She is played by Jennifer Parsons in the movie.

Mrs. Ziminsky

The principal of Edgewater Elementary. She suspends Tara for three days because of her behavior and Sonali and Jayden for one day (after it is confessed that what had happened wasn't the first time Tara, Sonali and Jayden had ganged up on Gwen).

She is played by ​Joanne Baron in the movie.