Since I'm catching up and doing my end of the year reading pick, I'll say it here: this was my favorite fiction work this year. I thought I learned somewhere that a movie production was coming out, and something prodded me to want to read it. It turns out, no movie. However, I certainly have no regrets in listening to this great SF work (winner of both the Hugo & Nebula awards). Comparisons? It reminded me in some ways of The Lord of the Flies, although the setting is much different. However, it is about children (although some females have roles in this book), and how difficult and sometimes mean-spirirted the world of children can be.
This rightly should be considered an SF classic, and if you're at all of an SF reader, I can recommend it highly. BTW, the audio edition that I listened to was excellent, and an talk by the author amended to the end. The author stated that he preferred the audio production as a way to experience the book. Amen.