I read this book for the first time a few years ago, and need to come back to it every now and them to reread it. I have to say that in all the years since I read it, I've never quite managed to forgive Alex for making their family move. However, after that first decision was made, all of the characters had bad decisions that they made that they could have reconsidered. I think I liked it because it had real problems, and was realistic; no villains, no perfect saints, just ordinary human beings trying (and sometimes failing miserably) to get along and care about each other. It was also moving to see how truly aiming to live a better life (as Sierra did) could truly change circumstances even when they had gone so far awry. I also realized again that although others may make bad decisions, we are only responsible for our own, but we are thoroughly responsible for those. Someone we love may hurt us greatly, but we can still choose our reaction to them. I would definitely recommend this book.