I had to put the book down many times. There were times it was too tough to read. I just wanted to cry. That's because I remember when Hurricane Katrina came and the complete devastation she left behind. While this may be fiction based on real events, I couldn't help but feel this could have happened, or even did to someone. That haunting notion had me tied into the story in such an emotional way, it made it so much more real. So I'd put it down for a bit, and always make my way back later. It was too good of a story to miss out on too, even with the tough and emotional subject matter. This story is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. Which brings me to my next point. This story is supposed to be read by middle graders. I have to say, with the graphic content in the story, I would not want my grade 4-grade 7 child reading it. I do encourage teens and adults to dig in though. It is amazing.