First off, let me say that the primary reason this book didn't get more stars from me is that I found it to be directed to a younger audience than I expected. And it could be that my expectations are my own fault, so try not to hold this against the book. This book is marketed as young adult, but The Wizard of Oz is more of a middle grade story. Likewise, I felt like this book is a middle grade book, and I generally avoid middle grade. You can call me sick if you like, but it's tough to please me when you avoid cursing, sexual tension, and violence. Sorry.
That being said, this was a nice middle grade book. I loved the parallels between the characters and story line in this book versus the Wizard of Oz. I'd think it's tough to create a brand new, original story while still making clear connections to the story that served as inspiration.
The characters were fun a believable. Gail had just lost her parents and, understandably, lacked some self-control with respect to her temper. This made her likably flawed. Gail was a spunky character who took underdog kids under her wing and looked out for them. She was a great Dorothy in that respect, but she was still an original character because of her sparky temper. Nick—a handsome, popular boy, who often spoke in a monotone and seemed to lack passion about everything—was the perfect tin man.
So although I didn't love-love-adore this book, I see some wonderful qualities in it. I highly recommend it to middle grade readers and to anyone who loves The Wizard of Oz.