Like Applegate's Crenshaw, Far From Fair addresses economic instability in a fashion that will make middle grade readers see how a family could fall on hard times, and will hopefully make them more empathetic no matter what their own family situation is. The same is true of the treatment of Rex's behaviors. What makes this book work is that all of the situations are framed by how they affect Odette, and these situations do not stop her from having the same concerns, angers and every day experiences that all middle graders have. One particularly telling scene has her upset because her mother has dropped the family phone into the water; she doesn't think she has any right to be upset because of her grandmother's situation, but her mother acknowledges that it's still okay to be upset about small things.
From the yard sale that starts the book, to the camping out across the Pacific coast, to the eventual stop on Orcas Island with all of its difficulties, Far From Fair is a page turning look at how one girl deals with a variety of challenges in her life and manages to find a way to meet them with good humor and hope.