I've seen a lot of parent reviews that say that this isn't appropriate for a 13 year old. I even saw one that claimed the book was 'shallow'. Wake up and smell the coffee, people. Welcome to real life. If your child is in 8th grade, I will guarantee that they have heard this kind of language before. Are there sexual references? Yes. Did that make me and does that continue to make me uncomfortable? Yes. But if you only read things that say the world is perfect, and exactly how you think it is, you will never learn anything.
2.The general consensus seems to be that kids love this book for telling it like it is, and I agree. I read this accidentally in 5th grade, not realizing what it was, and loved it. This is a hard book to read. Ultimately, the sun comes out, but you are left uncertain about Steve's innocence. There are references to rape and teenage sex, but it's really no worse than language used in a middle school. The book is well written, but in a screenplay format, which some kids might not like. Love the flashbacks. I would actually like to see this as a movie someday!
I highly recommend this book to strong 5th grade readers and above.