Why did this not get any Newbery recognition? Really, come on now, it was at least worthy of an Honor. (Was it because people find it too hard to pronounce her last name? According to her website, it's STOFF-ICK-ER. Not that hard, folks.) Or was it the... strange cover art of the hardcover? (I hope not; I happen to be more fond of the hardcover than my paperback version, and books with weirder covers have gotten Newbery recognition before...) Certainly, it's more distinguished than many kid books these days.
This book did most of the things found in a trying-too-hard book by an inexperienced author, and did them better than many experienced authors probably could have. Even if your tolerance for quirk is rock bottom, this book is so realistic and down-to-earth that it won't hurt you at all. I think only a person meaner than Harry Sue's granny could dislike it. Gotta love the con lingo and the crazy re-telling of "Little Red Riding Hood," which really must be read to be believed.
Buy it and read it, now. Do not be put off by its relative obscurity. It's a hidden, gleaming diamond amongst the rocks.