Unfortunately, the rather treacly movie has ruined the image of this wonderful book. Even if you hated the movie, you should check out the original story of the kid who came up with the novel concept to pay good deeds forward instead of paying people back who did him favors.
This idea of encouraging others to pass it on by helping out three others was invented by 12-year-old Trevor as a school project. Unbeknowst to him at the time, his idea becomes a worldwide phenomena in the course of a few months. Not only that, but he also manages to improve the lives of his mother and his teacher partly due to his idea.
The plot and character development are excellent, as the story is told from several perspectives, and the ending in the book is much better than the ending in the movie. I haven't been this touched by a story in a long time.