This book is very well-written but man, what a painful story. I have not had much direct experience with step-families, but I think this book should be a must-read, even though I realize it's a novel. Seeing the situation through the kids eyes in this novel may be a side of the story that's sometimes overlooked. One negative comment is that for about 90% of the book everyone is in pain, and by the end, it just seems like things fell into place in a more tidy fashion that I would expect. Worth reading, though.