If my class this year is really going to discuss and think through issues of moral reasoning (motives behind choices), then this book will be an excellent way to bring those abstract ideas to life. It could also be a gentle way to ask some difficult, but important questions. Like, how hard is it, really, to stand up for someone when you might become the next target of harassment? Where do people, including kids, find the courage to act on their values? What are some of the things that keep us from acting or that lead us to make hurtful choices? Maybe I'll just read some excerpts and tell slices of the story, but what I really want is to read the whole book out loud to my whole class. Why not? It's not very long.
I thought the device of having Laney, the narrator, talk a lot about elements of fiction was pretty witty, but it was sometimes a bit clumsy. I only noticed this awkwardness, though, because it got in the way of the story and the story was so good. It took on tough questions and moral situations that kids really face. I love authors who have the audacity to "go there." For the record: I didn't shed one tear while reading HP7, but this short book brought on the tears, twice. Real cruelty, real forgiveness, real redemption.