I barely ever read YA so I don't really have any points of reference.
This was a little tame for me overall. Not that there were no serious issues in it; when the bully who's been targeting Ellis for quite some time starts escalating his efforts things did get quite nasty.
In general, I think I should probably stay away from this type of books. I guess I'm simply too old to remember what it was like to be that young and find it a bit difficult to really get a feel for the emotional state of high schoolers. Add to that the fact that I don't recognize the picture of American high school that is painted in books and the media (I start counting my blessings whenever I read about this. It always sounds like you're either part of the 'in'-crowd or years of your life will be hell) and I feel even more disconnected.
Still, it was a sweet story. I like the ones where the jock is not afraid to go for what he wants even if it doesn't match the image everyone else expects him to uphold.