I am really torn about this book.
I absolutely loved the descriptions in the first half of the book. Even when there wasn't much happening, it was wonderful to watch Jess and Leslie's friendship grow as they made the world of Terabithia together.
However, that "terrible tragedy" that the back cover warned you about...
Now I've seen the movie and I knew what was going to happen. But I still don't really think it was done well. <spoiler> For anyone that doesn't know, Leslie dies. This was upsetting for me, but the real reason it bugged me so much was that Leslie dies so that Jess can see what a wonderful person she helped him become. That is the reason. That is why she died, to further the story of the male character. Talk about refrigerating. I think I could have handled Leslie's death if it was wasn't for the sole reason of advancing Jess's character. Not only that, but Leslie's character just kind of fades away. She just dies and that's it. Jess is upset, but looks on the bright side. I'm glad he's a better person and everything, but I think there was a more reasonable and responsible was to handle writing Leslie's death. <spoiler>
Also, this book was written in the 70's so the views of violence are a bit lax in comparison to today's standards. I think this is important for young readers to know going in, especially with Janice Avery's story line.
So I'm still kind of up in the air about this one. The beginning half was definitely 4 stars, but that ending just didn't feel right to me, which bumped it down to 3.