This book was pretty good, but I actually liked the movie version better. Usually I prefer the book, since the movie has a limited ability to get into the details, back-story and character development; but in this case, I felt like the movie script substantially refined the book and ended up gelling in a way that the book just didn't do.This book started out strong, but suffered from a lot of drift and ended up feeling like two books smashed together. The first book is a mystery surrounding the murder of 14 year-old Susie Salmon. The second book is a family drama about interpersonal relationships. I felt like the book would have been stronger had it merged the two stories more instead of essentially finishing the story about Susie's murder halfway into the book, then moving on to the family drama. Why not weave the two stories together and draw out the ways that the family members cope with their grief as the investigation goes on? I really didn't see any reason for the author to wrap up the murder plot line so quickly, since that left me feeling like she started one book, didn't like the way it was going (or just got bored with it) and moved onto another book with the same characters.Essentially, I felt like this book would have benefited from more integration between the stories. The family drama would have been much more powerful and had more connection to the reader had it not felt like it was tacked onto the end of a short story about a young girl's murder.