The House of the Scorpion is so highly hailed and with an intriguing concept, so I had high hopes for this book.
I found the book incredibly unpleasant to read. I'm not rating the book because I acknowledge that I am not the target audience, and that may be part of the issue. I also thought the book was YA, and realized quickly it is intended for even younger audience.
It is a dark story with good complexity. I just found the style of writing juvenille (of course, it is aimed at pre-teen children), with sentence after sentence of "[Name] did/felt/etc _____." I also found the thought process and actions of the main character frustrating and annoying, on top of the fact that nearly everyone in the book is hostile at best and actively malicious and sadistic at worst. I think the only character that I was really engaged by is the body guard, which is honestly a rather background role.