(4.5 stars, deducted a few points for personal quibbles with the way the story is told and that some parts felt kind of glossed over. But seriously. Immensely compelling story from an author whose every work seems to be gold.)
The horror of this book comes on slowly and without being graphic and extreme; an after school special or PSA this is surely not. The writing is, of course, ridiculously good; I expect no less from Jacqueline Woodson, of course. Few authors can take subject matter as disturbing as this and write about it with such eloquence. Thing is, before this I'd only read her Newbery Honor books and Locomotion and had no experience with her work for the over-14 set. Dare I say that, based upon this novel alone, it's even better than her middle grade work?
(Maybe. I'll get back to you on that after I grab some of her older stuff. But this may be my favorite work by her so far, and I LOVE that she doesn't over-stuff her works at all.)