Typically, I go into reading a children's/young adult's book with a predisposed negative bias. I also usually despise books that have happy, let's-all-sing-kumbaya-by-the-campfire , endings.
However, within a week prior to reading this book, I had happened to watch two videos about real children being really kind to other children who would otherwise be unpopular and shunned. One had to do with a student with Down's syndrome, whose basketball team, and what seemed like the entire school, got behind him and cheered him on as he scored a few baskets in a game, and who helped to get his story onto ESPN's Sportscenter. The other had to do with a middle school football team who concocted a plan, unbeknownst to their coaches, to get a kid on their team with social and learning disabilities to score a touchdown.
So, I guess happy endings can in fact happen. Sometimes.
And so maybe these real life stories softened me up enough to find this book not only well written and enjoyable, but moving as well. It contained serious themes important to children and young adults, the intended audience for this book. But these same themes are important to us adults as well, and we sometimes (maybe more times than we would admit) need to be reminded of them. This book did a fine job at that.
Thanks to my 11-year old daughter for getting on my case about reading this book. I'm glad I did.