Quite good though it started off slow and a little boring. Unexpectedly real characters, real life situations and a highlight on the nastier aspects of humanity.
Having finished reading i can understand why Rowling felt she "needed" to write this book. I found that although it was not a page turner for me, it was still interesting simply because of the 'everydayness' of the characters situations. She did not overcomplicate the story lines but kept them as believable as possible.
It was thought provoking at times and highlighted some issues such as substance abuse and mental illness that are not often discussed casually in society. The characters reactions to these issues i felt was very realistic.
Some negatives were that the book often became borderline cliche in its simplicity which perhaps could have been avoided. Also, some character monologues were repetitive and dragged on unnecessarily.
Overall, 3.5 stars
. I would recommend The Casual Vacancy to a person interested in societal issues and common reactions to them.