...it's really hitting its stride now. It's got all the hallmarks of a great coming of age story in the tradition of Stephen King's "It" or "The Body" (aka "Stand By Me"), Dan Simmons' "Summer of Night", and even McCammon's "Boy's Life". (I mention this book because I know Jonathan hasn't read it yet and I'm trying to shame him into it!) I have high hopes for the rest of this tale.
Also, I wanted to mention the very cool faux-aged cover. I've only seen this done one other time and I liked it then as well.