Katherine Paterson uses language in the novel that is suitable and understandable for adolescents. She often uses direct speach and everyday language. Although the novel is written in third person, the reader often has the feeing that the story is being told from the perspective of Jesse. Therefore, the reader is able to empathize with his struggles, joys and passions. The author’s poetic language helps to underscore the fantastic elements of the novel and support the reader’s own imagination. The author also makes use of intertextuality with references to Narnia and, thus, taps into knowledge that the reader might already possess.
Moreover, the characters in the novel are all dealing with problems that will be familiar to their reader: jealousiy, exclusion, bullying, romantic crushes, conformity, individuality, friendship, and finding and following one’s dreams. These timeless themes will appeal to adolescent students and could be highly motivational in a literature class. Paterson approaches the challenges and fears of young people like bullying and self-consciousness through the eyes of a young person, which makes it more accessible for the reader. In addition, the novel does not shy away from more intense topics like loss and grief. All of these themes could provide valuable and meaningful discussion and reflection in class.