I love to read and can get very attached to my opinions, but recently I've been learning not to completely lose my head when people disagree with me, so feel safe to argue with me whenever you wish ;)
I think the most amazing thing about this book is how many personal stories it's inspired to be written by reviewers on GR and Booklikes. It's just as heartbreakingly realistic as I thought it would be, and although I wasn't a bullied kid in school, I think the story of trying to find your identity, of trying all your life to follow the rules only to find out that the key to life is making your own rules, is about the closest to a universal human experience anything can possibly get.
Sometimes, in spite of all my bookish tendencies, I forget why I even read in the first place. Then I realize that I don't really have to search that hard, because any story, if it's well and authentically told, has the power to resonate with many different types of people regardless of what your literary preferences are. This is one of those books.
Other than that, I think everything that could possibly be said about this book has already been said.
Ok, apparently not! One criticism I've seen for this book is Elise's hypocrisy as a first person narrator. Personally, I saw that as what happens when there is too much of a disparity between the way others perceive you and the way you perceive yourself. The knowledge of knowing deep down that you're a worthwhile human being, conflicting with the environment that's constantly trying to tear you down. Of course Elise is going to look down on her schoolmates even as she craves her acceptance, because that's how the zero-sum games of school environments tend to work. There's no room to realize who you are until you find that room for yourself. And Elise does, ultimately in a way I think is pretty realistic and inspiring as coming-of-age stories go...