I liked this one better than The Chocolate War
. First, although the hero, Wallace Wallace, starts out being a bit of a jerk, he evolves over the course of the story and learns a thing or two about friendship and belonging. Second, the atmosphere was a lot lighter--bad things still happen, but the setting isn't as claustrophobic and Gothic as in TCW. Third, even though I know it was a bit hokey, I liked the device of having Rachel write to Julia Roberts for advice, as "a fellow actress." I like the chapters being different peoples' perspectives, too.
I'm finding it hard to believe that the English teacher would have prevailed as long as he did, though--here in the Southern U.S., football is King (when it's not basketball season), and you'd better believe that WW would have been allowed to play tout suite. It's depressing, actually.
I think if I had come across this one during my middle school or even early high school years, it would have become one of my all-time favorites. As it is, it was a fun way to spend a few hours.