What a great read. This one should appeal to folks of all ages - 8 to 80 as they say. As the book has topped many bestseller lists, folks are probably familiar with the basic plot. It's the story of a young man with a variety of deformities caused by a genetic abnormality. During the course of the narrative, he starts regular school for the first time. While a book like this could be depressing and a drag, it's really very uplifting. The story is told with authenticity, good humor, and an unforgettable cast of characters many of whom are given the opportunity to tell portions of the story in their own voices.
One thing that really struck me about the writing was how terrific Palacio is at slipping from one voice to another in the different sections of the story to fill in gaps left in other portions. Thus we get the story of an entire school year with different sections told in different voices. All of them are young voices and all are very distinct and genuine. This is a cast of characters I can really believe in. They're so easy to relate to, and their voices are sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes uplifting.
It's definitely a "feel good" story. The characters have their ups and downs but we kind of know that "good" will triumph in the end. And by "good", I mean all that's best about people - kindness, love, trust and giving the benefit of the doubt, allowing for second chances etc. I don't want to say more for fear of spoiling the plot. But I highly recommend this one to readers of all ages.