A lot of the SF I've read has felt like it held me at arm's length. Distance like that prevents me from ever fully connecting with a story or the characters in it. This one felt so real and so close that it was almost like Zoe was in the room with me. She made me cry. Like, three times. She also made me laugh out loud while I was crying.
And now I am reminded that I really need to read more of his books, as I enjoyed that one so very much.
Relatedly, I am now suddenly tempted to go up to the attic and dig through my boxes of books to find my Beverly Cleary.
*She is SO VERY, VERY Ramona, and I am SO VERY, VERY Beezus.