I bought this book for my two older daughters to read due to the reviews and the subject matter being similar to other books they have enjoyed. However, I read the book before they did just to see what it was about, and I am so very glad I did! At the end I was just crying, but in such a good way.
I don't consider myself religious, more of an agnostic. Even though the book spoke about heaven, etc., it wasn't in such a way that made it overbearing. It actually questioned certain beliefs more than anything, so I did not think there were any sort of religious overtones in the book that tried to explain life, death, and what comes after in an arrogant, this-is-the-way-it-is-so-do-NOT-ask-questions-or-doubt-it-in-any-way tone.
What it was is an extremely touching, moving book with such a great conclusion. I most definitely did not think there should have been more, it was, as another reviewer called it, beautiful. It is an atypical love story which shows the power of forgiveness, all in a story that teens and adults can relate to.
Really, this is a wonderful book, you just have to read it. I know my children will love it, although since they are not adults, as the characters in the book are, they may not be able to relate to some aspects of the story, like how strong a mother's love is and why you would punish yourself for things you thought you had done wrong.
I hate to think there are people that think this book is only for older teenagers. If your kids are allowed out in the real world at all without earplugs and blinders, the sex, language, and drug references in this book are *not* going to surprise them. Sorry for having to say that, but it isn't cynicism, just unfortunately, reality.