I had such an odd reaction to this book that I made my best friend read it. As expected, his was completely different but helped to put mine into perspective.
With that new perspective, I decided that I liked it. I identified with India, convinced that she was the center of the universe and that anything her mother did was designed to ruin India's life. My daughter was this way too. I remember giving her the exact perfect 14-year-old birthday party and being distressed at her reaction of "it was nice". She has told me since that when she got what she believed was her heart's desire, she would discover what she really wanted was far different. I enjoyed Mouse's world, and Finn reminded me a great deal of my son when he was younger. There was a Wrinkle-in-Time quality to the story that I enjoyed and having read this, I will have to re-read that one.
The opening of the book did not distress me - upheaval of that sort was part of my life somehow. How one copes is really what is interesting and I liked reading about the way each handled the stress of their life. (view spoiler)[ I think the ending distressed me, and that was the source of my odd reaction. My friend's reaction was that the book was very sad - this in the first few pages - and he completely got what was happening so was not surprised at the end. In fact, it may have been a relief. I think I immediately associated the story with Wrinkle, where the whole surreal adventure ends happily. The last chapter was a surprise - I felt like I'd not been reading the same book, perhaps that I'd been tricked (a bit of India there...I realize the author did not set out to ruin my life or distress me). (hide spoiler)]