I LOVE, Love, love this book! Addie deals with poverty, neglect, death, divorce, her mother's mental illness, and loneliness. Through it all she never loses hope, faith, or her optimism that life will get better for her. The characters are so well-developed, I fell in love with nearly all of them. Addie's mother could have been portrayed as a horrible woman, but she was a sympathetic character that truly loved her children, but needed help dealing with her mental illness. The dialogue and setting are realistic and poignant. I couldn't put the book down once I started it. I even read it in the car, and then had to go through the store with red-rimmed eyes from crying.
This book is too difficult for reluctant middle school readers, but is a wonderful book for older students or advanced readers. It would also be great for any kids going through abuse, neglect, or living with someone with bipolar disorder. This book has won several awards, including the ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults. This is a book that I wish I had written. That is my highest praise.