Wow! Really, that's all I have to say. Apparently I didn't pay much attention when I watched the movie, or the director did a horrible job getting across the message in the film. I was (quite pleasantly) surprised at how wonderful the book is. And what a great way to show the power of second chances and how unusual pairings can create beautiful friendships. On top of all that, it's written in such a way that kids enjoy the book, and can actually have a "book club" discussion on the powerful themes.
If you haven't yet packed away your flip flops and stored your beach bag in the basement for another 9 months, here's a great "it's technically not fall until September 23" summer read.