The story earns high marks; as I neared the close I worried too much was being left for the next book, but that resolved and this book can stand alone. Not well, but it can. A decent coming-of-age novel. What would be fantastic is a story from the point-of-view of another ward.
The writing nets low marks - I dislike the omniscient narrator, who unfortunately kept popping up. To put it in writers terms, way too much tell, not enough show. The dialog saves this somewhat, with good use of wit.
Overall rating - a smidge under 4 stars. I will read the next in the series, and I hope it hits a little closer to the bullseye.