It started off a bit slowly, but I really enjoyed this story by the end. It rang true as being about a small neighborhood, the kind where people don't move very often, and keep homes within the same family for a couple of generations. When urban decay and other factors threaten the quiet little place, the story, as told from the viewpoint of one of the few girls on the block, is very touching. The subplots, including the one about the elderly, cranky neighbor, were very good.
My only difficulty with the story was figuring out the ages of the characters. On more than one occasion in the story, I thought I had that worked out, and then something would come along to alter my mental timeline.
The little sister, Dottie, was perfectly believable, but she would have driven me crazy within minutes in real life. A hyperactive, goofy child with the brains of a stuffed Pooh Bear is the way she came across to me. Even if remarkably lovable, she would be incredibly aggravating in person.