Dear curious reader or over protective parent:
I have read a few reviews from parents who say this book is "too mature" for their precious and naive offspring and say this book is "poorly written." First and foremost, this book isn't anything other than real. Parents can't shield their children away from pain and the tragedies of the world forever. And the parents who try have the kids who grow up and can't handle the world and break. The world isn't full of rainbows and butterflies and sometimes that's okay. The bad makes the good moments that much better. This book tries to pry open the eyes of the neglectful minds of society who think because it doesn't happen to them, it doesn't happen to anyone. It encourages the youth to know everyone has a story and to not judge a book by it's cover. I have heard this book is too explicit because it mentions intercourse and it encourages bullying. It doesn't encourage bullying, it encourages standing up if you see bullying happening. It encourages being brave enough to speak up for what's right. Whether it is child or an adult.
Also, it simply mentions sex, it doesn't talk about the act itself and I'm fairly positive if a child is exposed to any advertisement or social media the child already knows what the infamous act is. Also, I think it is healthy to start an open and informative talk with a child about intercourse at young age.
Lastly, I feel the way Gary D. Schmidt wrote the book is genius. It isn't written from a 45 year old experienced man, it is written from the perspective of an intelligent and thoughtful sixth grader. It helps connect the young reader with the characters and makes you focus on the story rather than the writing style. Did this book change my life? No. Is it a heart wrenching story that I encourage others to read? Most definitely. Frankly, if you read this book and all you got out of it was the writing style was below par, I feel that reflects more of your character than the books.