I can definitely see what the buzz is about this book. The first couple of chapters I was irritated because I don't read a lot of crime books and the narrator used anagrams for crime jargon (like A&B for assault & battery) so I had no idea what he was talking about. But it improved, immensely...a couple chapters later I'd forgotten about my irritation and was completely sucked into the story.
I was completely sympathetic towards Jacob and his family, I was a bit like Andy, thinking that there was no way this boy could have done it, even with the evidence. I was swept away by the writing style, the pure faith that Andy had in his son. I hated how everything stacked up, and that Andy and Laurie (Jacob's parents) were bearing the brunt of the trial because they dared to defend their son. I felt that Laurie's character wasn't really developed, but since the story was written from Andy's point of view, and was mostly revolving around his thoughts and feelings about everything, it's forgivable.
And then...the ending. I didn't see it coming from a mile away. Boom. I'm pretty sure my jaw actually dropped open. There was a lot of foreshadowing in the book (he'd say things like "looking back, I should have known..." etc) but it never really gave a clue about what was going to happen. But if I say too much, it'll give it all away. So instead, I'm going to say that you NEED to read this book. You won't be disappointed.