Personally I loved this book. I read it in 6th grade and it really allowed me to delve into the character's mind. People believe that it should be for 13+ but I read it around age 11. (I stumbled upon it in my collection of books) There isn't really any gorey scenes, but the step father does beat the protagonist. I've read the book at least 13 times. It's a book you can read again and again and not get tired of it. There may be some concern that it's to mature for young readers, but you should allow your kids to read it if you believe the are mature enough. It's an awe inspiring book.