For all the grimness of the subject, this is a lovely, quiet story, simply told. And it's most notable for all the things it isn't: no villains, no suspense, no tearjerking, no clueless adults, no deathbed scene -- in fact, no death. This isn't Willie's story, though she is the catalyst. It's the story of two friends trying to come to terms with grief and waiting for the inevitable changes that come to every life.
Despite its short length and simple language, it's a story of complexity: Nothing in life is as simple as we might like it to be, and every character, major and secondary, is three-dimensional. Eddie's mom chooses always to tell Eddie the truth, as hard as that sometimes can be, but she really pays attention when she tells it. Each character is, in her own way, unresolved, as is the story, which ends before the end. This is all just a not-so-simple way of saying this isn't just a story -- it's real.