What? Grandpa's dead in the freezer? What? He KNEW he'd soon be dead and he wanted to not be a bother to others, Gwen??? Didn't he think finding him dead in the freezer would be kind of disturbing? Also - what? A girl living basically alone in NYC invites a basic stranger to stay with her alone? What's that??? All the descriptions of the music - the rise and fall, etc.... I'm musical and understood it, but I would only care to read about it in much shorter pieces and fewer times. It felt like filler. I can't believe Grandpa knew he was going to die and put himself in the freezer. The addition of William seemed unnecessary and like filler too. I LOVE Andrew Clements books and have read: Frindle, The Landry News, Lunch Money, School Story, A Week In the Woods, Things Not Seen, and this one. The others are great, but this one's not. I'll try No Talking next and hope for better.
As an adult, I enjoyed this story, but the part of the book when Hekja is captured (instead of killed) by the Vikings is very gruesome and it includes seeing her own mother killed. There's a lot of blood in that part of the book. There's also another battle scene toward the end of the book, as well as inferences to other more mature themes. I wouldn't reccomend this book to anyone younger than 13.