I think I would have liked this more if I had read it when I was a pre-teen or young teenager. This is one of those "hardship makes you stronger", "poor is wholesome" books that almost seems to glorify poverty. I'm just too jaded at this point in my life to buy into that romantic idealism, though I really enjoyed books with similar themes when I was a younger.
That said, I did enjoy this. I love books that take place in New York, Brooklyn particularly, since that's where I'm from and it's fun to recognize landmarks, local slang, etc. in the story. Since this is set at the very beginning of the twentieth century, just after Brooklyn was consolidated into New York City, I found it especially interesting. The city portrayed here is so different: streetcars, penny candy stores, tenement buildings. These glimpses into turn-of-the-century Williamsburg were my favorite parts.
Overall, liked it, didn't love it.