My two teens have learned and performed some of Shostakovich's music on the violin, specifically a gavotte, so this was a riveting read. My daughter still quotes the author's many points about how Stalin crippled his own army, prior to Hitler's invasion.
The text hits many WWII Social Studies CC standards for 8th grade, including S1.C8.PO6, S1.C9.PO1, S2.C8.PO8 and S3.C5.PO1.
If teaching this text in the 8th grade, I would send home a parental notice first. The content is for mature readers. How Lenningrad / St. Petersburg dealt with the German blockade (the author delves into reports of cannibalism, the musicians die of starvation while rehearsing, etc.), and the recounting of Stalin's various atrocities, is gruesome history.
The writing is narrative, beginning en media res - at the climax - and it follows a clear "plot mountain" structure. It's a great text for higher-level readers, or as an enrichment text for your gifted and talented students.
The publisher offers an educator's guide, aimed at general ELA 9th grade CC standards, with discussion questions and a few classroom activities.