The short version is if you enjoy Mr. Weber's and Ms. Lindskold's writing and like YA, this not a disappointing read. It isn't an end of the world book, people don't hate their parents, they aren't outcasts at their school, no magical powers, pretty normal people dealing with above average problems in a very well thought out setting.
I can't say I'm a fan of young adult stories, because most of the time I can't relate to the character(s). That being said this being a Honor Harrington setting novel, that it was an ancestors of Honor's and it Ms. Lindskold was a co-author I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed.
I wish I could say what story or book I had read Jane Lindskold's other story or stories in, I remember that I liked it, I swore it might have been in a Honor Harrington anthology or something but I don't and can't recall.
This book I enjoyed, the story was fresh, had a treecat in it, the treecat and the relationship with Stephanie Harrington, the protagonist was good but it didn't have the same feel that Honor has with Nimitz, her treecat. Which is good because Stephanie is the first person to bond with one of those cure 6 legged furballs and I don't tink it would have been right for them to 'get it' right off the bat.
I am guessing for Young Adult Lit this is pretty normal. Teenage girls not being sure about themselves, their bodies, boys, other girls so that is right on target. The boy character is smart, suave but has issues dealing with his parents, especially his father whom he is left in the care of on a strange planet. Even going so far as having to go against his dad when it comes to doing what is right vs wanting to be pleasing to his dad.
There is girl vs girl rivalry for a position on a sports team and jealousy over being the only person her age with a treecat.
There is even a driving test concern. So, instead of having to deal with really big or heavy teenage angst things, this novel takes a more light hearted approach making it something that is a bit more of a 'fun' read.
The discussions the treecats have I also found to be, entertaining, as they are learning how to deal with humans and if they can even be trusted.
There is nothing wrong in the least as well as picking this up as your first book to being introduced to the Honor Harrington series. It does not give you interstellar battles, Haven is not spoken about in the least, neither is the Queen or any issues with the Navy, prominent discussions in the other books. There is some talk of budges, societies, money, which I feel are things that are not a bad thing for people reading this book to be exposed too.
It was not a long read, I finished it in less than a day but I did not feel like I wasted my time.
I do hope that Ms. Lindskold continues to write in this universe and perhaps something out of the YA genre.