The book is about Steven, an average (if not a little awkward) 8th grader. Steven's number one problem in life is his perfect, 8 years-younger brother, Jeffrey. However, Steven gains new appreciation for Jeffrey when his family learns that Jeffrey has leukemia. Steven learns a lot about being a brother, friendship, forgiveness, and himself, while his family faces Jeffrey's stressful, sometimes touch-and-go battle with leukemia.
I loved the way Sonnenblick really captured the mind of an awkward middle-schooler. While he was writing from a boy's perspective, I think a lot of what he said rang true for girls in middle school as well. Here's one of my favorite passages from the book:
"It suddenly struck me that the two worst social situations in middle school - dances and dodgeball - have a lot in common for guys like me. You go to the gym, stand in a corner as far away from the action as possible, and try not to be seen. Your eyes scan the room for threats - either flying projectiles aimed at your head or girls aimed at mortifying you by getting you out on the floor - and you sweat profusely while standing still."