In my effort to keep up with my son's reading I picked this up and read it last night. Like most Newberry winners it deals with important/mature themes but the writing is very accessible and made both my son and I laugh out loud several times.
The story is about an orphan runaway who spends some years in search of "home". Along the way he touches the lives of several other people and finds love in unusual places. The book deals with race, age, and education in such a way that they are important but lighthearted enough to not be depressing.
I would definitely recommend this book as something more substantial to intermediate readers who are ready for some thought-provoking themes.