They focus around the Love family and are written from the view of 13 year old Ally. It tells of the family dramas and friendship crisis she has as she grows up in London, England. It is set out as a story for her absent mother about what her children have been up to in case she ever returns...
Tor is seven when we first meet him and is described by Ally as 'so quiet we sometimes don't know if he's even there'. He loves animals to the core, and will do anything to protect his pets. On one occasion, Tor kicks his new neighbors for prodding Winslet, one of his dogs. He is incredibly shy and does not speak much, but he is incredibly excited when a vet moves in the house next door. He climbs over the fence to meet his new neighbor, much to the annoyance of his Dad. Tor got his name from Glastonbury Tor, where his parents visited whilst his mum was pregnant.
Ivy was introduced in Daisy, Dad and the Huge, Small, Surprise (Book 10). We find out about Ivy when Ally's Mum comes back home. She says that while she was suffering from postnatal depression, she went away and gave birth to Ivy. Ivy is 3 and 1/2 years old and is a big animal lover (Like Tor.)She has a pet dog called Ben in Cornwall where she has been living for the past 3 and a 1/2 years with her mum. In (Book 11) she reveals to everyone that Rowan likes Alfie whom Ally had a big crush on. Ivy is said to be a copy of Martin (Ally's dad). Ally and several others also describe her as being like Tor, only smaller and with a brown bob and a love for anything pink. Ivy was named after St.Ives.
Martin is Ally, Linn, Rowan, Tor and Ivy's father. He runs a local bike shop, which doesn't make much profit. This bike shop is also where Martin met Ally's mother for the first time. Martin is loved by all his children, but often gets sad about Ally's mother being away (until Book 10). However Ally and her siblings think he is a good, kind dad and can usually tell him their troubles easily. All the Love children have an agreement not to get into trouble at school or misbehave, knowing that their dad has a lot to cope with, with his wife being missing. To take his mind off her and to find something to do, Martin takes up line dancing, which he thinks is fun, but embarrasses Ally and her siblings. Later, when Ally's mum comes back, she too takes up line dancing. Martin never has a girlfriend in the absence of Ally's mother, but at one stage gets a bit too friendly for Ally's liking with Tor's summer craft program teacher, Daisy Wood.
Melanie is Ally, Linn, Rowan, Tor and Ivy's mother. She first appears in Book 10. She is the reason that Ally started the journals chronicling her family's life, after Ally starts writing them in the hope that if the her mother does some day come back, she can catch up on what she has missed while away. Melanie had been absent for four years up until Book 10. She ran away after giving birth to Tor, suffering postnatal depression and not realising that she was pregnant with Ivy. She ran away to stay with a friend in Cornwall and never left, even though Ally and her family thought she had been travelling around the world because she wrote postcards from Cornwall and then gave them to foreign tourists to post from their home countries so it looked as though she was staying in different places. After 4 years she comes back to Crouch End, London for her mother's wedding at her insistence (and with 3 and a 1/2 year-old Ivy in tow). Ally's grandma (Melanie's mother) had actually kept contact with Melanie for about six months before the wedding, but had kept it a secret from Ally's family. When Melanie gets home she receives such a warm reception from her family that she decides to stay two or three weeks and try to sort things out with Ally's dad (Martin). However, things don't work out between them and Linn finds it hard to accept her in the house, so Melanie runs away back to Cornwall with Ivy. However, once they find that they are gone, Ally's family set off to Cornwall and find them, convincing Melanie and Ivy that they want them to stay for good. After a while, Melanie gets used to living back with the Loves and the children learn to accept her welcomingly.
Grandma's name is actually Irene and she is described as being a sort of "no-nonsense" and "practical" person who doesn't mess around with things like panicking and cuddles. She is very brisk and organised and lives in her neat house. While the Loves' mother was away she would come over to their house and often look after them and cook meals for them. She hates mess and untidy surroundings, which is why she often despairs of the Love's busy household. She likes to clean a lot and keep things tidy. It is said that Linn, the eldest Love child takes after her in being a "neat freak" and always serious. During the series, Grandma makes a boyfriend called Stanley, who according to Ally and Tor has very hairy ears. Later on in the series she marries Stanley and it is then that she calls for Ally's mum to come back to London for the wedding and also to get back with her family.
Sandie (real name Sandra) is Allie's best and closest friend. It is her that Ally tells all her secrets to and Sandie confides in her in return. Sandie has blonde hair and big blue eyes and is at first mistaken for one of the Love children by Stanley when he comes to meet them for the first time and Sandie is staying over for tea. Sandie is very shy and quiet, but later on in the series she gets braver, kissing her boyfriend Billy at a bustop in front of other people. At the start of the series she cannot stand Billy, who is Ally's best boy mate but when he acts bravely during her mother's birth, Sandie realises that she likes him and starts going out with him. This makes Ally jealous because they're always spending time together instead of with her and also because she discovers later that she likes Billy herself (after he and Sandie break up). Sandie is treated like a baby by her parents, who are very strict and buy her things such as teddy bears and don't let her read teenage magazines like her friends. When Mrs. Walker becomes pregnant, Sandie gets upset and feels ignored by her parents, but soon learns to love her new baby sister (who is called Roberta).
Billy is Ally's best boy mate and later becomes her boyfriend. He is gangly and always has something stupid to say. Ally thinks he is a great friend, but often despairs of his stupidity, referring to him as a "big berk" or a "muppet" after he does stupid things without thinking, such as shoving an ice-cream in the face of a French exchange student talking to Ally because he thought he was flirting with Sandie, his then girlfriend. Ally often helps Billy with his love-life, helping to get him a date with a sports store assistant Billy has a crush on (Anita), and later helping him patch things up with Sandie after they have a fight. When Billy becomes her boyfriend, Ally realises that she liked him all along without knowing it.