Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
This book perfectly captures the awkward, uncertain feelings of middle school. Martha deals with the death of a classmate, a new crush, and frustration with her role in her family. The characterization is honest, and the resolutions of various plot points are simple and realistic. Target age: 10-14.
Connections: The Bridge to Terebitha, by Katherine Paterson Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt