Just finished reading it (I got it for Christmas and couldn't force myself to read through it right away). What a letdown
I'm always a bit careful when a story/ script is set in a small town, as it's so often used to add a semblance of relevance to the story or make characters who lack depth stand out more. I'd say both of this is the case in TCV; against the backdrop of a bustling city, the utter banality of the plot would be too obvious. Basically I've been looking for any qualities that define this book but I'm at a loss. It's not socially or politically relevant, it doesn't offer the escapism you'd expect from her and it's simply not an entertaining read. Her dry humour doesn't work more often than it does. There are no surprising twists about any of the characters.
Speaking of which, J. Rowling does seem to have the ability to empathize pretty well with teenage boys, and that's a trait in some women I always find both strange and funny. I think the book has its best moments when she dwells on the angst of boys in their awkward phase. There's no gender equality though: she contemplates an adolescent boy's balls, but there are no insights on teen vaginas to be gained. The subsequent mentioning of a girl's nudity seems a bit tacked-on, as if she wanted to avoid the question of wether teenage boys simply play an important role in her personal fantasies (I'm sure they do now, but that's beside the point). The characters remain one-dimensional; while boys and men in her writings tend to have something bumbling about them and offer comic relief, her girls and women tend to be of the "serious and bedraggled" sort. This also strikes me as possibly autobiographical.
The HP books always carried little messages, simple as they were; "love is a redemptive force" or "friends are good". If this is true for TCV as well, I must have missed it. Maybe that's why I feel let down; I expected something more personal from her. Though maybe TCV gives something away about the author, if you juxtapose it with the relatively harmonious world of the HP books: you get the impression of a person with a slightly sardonic worldview, who regularly withdraws to happier pastures inside her own mind.
tl;dr people are cunts, what else is new?