Like always, the novel-in-verse format made the story more lyrical and quicker to read. In this case, it made the voice a bit more distinctive than it would've been in traditional format. I'm honestly surprised, however, that the format also made it a little bit harder for me to get into the book than usual (not as hard as it was for me to get into The Surrender Tree and Carver, but I couldn't get sucked into it like I did with Out of the Dust). I think the book was exceptionally well-crafted: All the characters were distinctive, the writing was great, and the story had an abundance of very poignant moments. I really, really liked it. I just wish I LOVED it. It deserved that Newbery Honor thoroughly, though. Lai is an author with some serious skill.
I do love the cover, though.