I read this book this year (2011) as a seventh grader and I found the plot in this book really hard to follow. The storyline (of what I could understand) was really not interesting and I thought this was a really uninteresting. A small part of the reason I highly disliked this book was because my class ran this book into the ground going into depth with it. The book really has no action in it. The only scenes that could even pass as an action seen where basically when the wind started blowing harder, it got colder, and the main character holds up a couple of signs and everything is OK again. As for the "violence" part of the rating- The burn is not graphically described at all and for the mother breaking her leg because she was forced to fall down the stairs, that is basically how it is described. If an eight year old could understand the plot, they would not even be offended.
I honestly did not like this book at all and I would have given it a one star rating but I reserve that rating for books only as bad as the novel "Julie of the Wolves".
And as for me giving it an "off" rating, it is not because it is inappropriate but more so because it is just a boring novel.