Boys hit a developmental stage about half way through 8th grade when they LOVE to read problem novels. Rottman's Stetson, Alex Flinn's work, anything with boys facing challenges. This was absolutely perfect. Problems, but a ton of suspense, and nothing sappy. It reminded me a lot of Shane, which I still love. I can see this being a great book to hand to boys who have read Green's Unstoppable, which really is more problems than football. I am definitely ordering this one for my school library and checking out Alabama Moon.