I don’t know how many books have been written about neurotic 12-year-olds, but I doubt many of them are as good as The 10pm Question. The central character, Frankie, is a portrait of a boy struggling with (he feels) the weight of the world on his shoulders. He’s so serious, yet still a kid and a very human character. Pretty much all the other characters are weird or colourful in their own way, but never too cartoonish (with the possible exception of the Aunties — but they are so likeable I don’t really mind).
The book’s official site has a little essay written by the author, describing the ideas that went into the book and how it was written. Don’t read it until you’ve read the book though.
Even though it’s short, The 10pm Question is clever, funny, thoughtful and wise. I loved it.