David is smart, brave, and outspoken. He can also be stiff and overly serious at times. His dialogue comes off as formal, especially compared to Melinda’s. For example, the note he passes Melinda in class is typed, demonstrating the amount of forethought he puts into everything he does.

From Melinda’s perspective, David mostly ignores her, but he does notice when she almost breaks a microscope. Other clues suggest that David is more aware of Melinda than she realizes, such as his handing her a tissue as soon as she bites her fingernail and begins to bleed. Further, in the gym, he says, "You remember fun, don't you?" The question subtly indicates that he's noticed Melinda's sadness and how she's changed over time.

What Melinda notices early on about David is his ability to be both openly intelligent and well-respected by other students, which seems like an impossible feat to Melinda. David is focused on his future and dreams of being a lawyer, doctor, or scientist. He also sees himself as a leader and protector. David becomes Melinda's biggest ally in her fight against Mr. Neck, the social studies teacher who symbolizes all the oppressive forces that work together to silence Melinda. Once David stands up to him, the entire class feels grateful to David for saving them from having to listen to Mr. Neck. David shows Melinda that sometimes speaking up gets results, but it never comes easy. Every time Mr. Neck tries to silence him, such as through dirty looks, David fights back.

Unlike Melinda, David has supportive parents who stand behind him enough to hire an attorney to defend his civil rights. He recognizes the unfairness in Melinda's lack of support. It is David's comparison of Melinda to the suffragettes that helps her see that speaking out is often the only way to challenge injustice.