What are the strong and weak points of the book?
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I think the book is meant for a particular demographic of reader. It is considered "young adult fiction." To this extent, it is a very effective book. The story is engaging enough for boys to appreciate; this is a tall order in today's schools. THe author gives it a gritty realistic feel. Cole is full of anger and disappointment. His family is dysfunctional which is sadly relatable to more and more people. I think one of the strongest elements is that it does not have a particularly happy ending. Cole has merely taken the first step to healing, he has much to go.
Oh, I forgot. If there is a weakness it lies in a lack of depth to Cole's emotional struggle and the other characters are not as well developed as they could be. Still, this works for the intended target audience.