Picklemania by Jerry Spinelli is a nice, non-issue book about four middle school friends. I think they meet in an earlier pickle book, which explains how they became friends, but by now they are just kids who hang together. They have small scale worries -- the eight grade bullies, Valentine's Day, the lack of snow for sledding. Spinelli writes believable and interesting characters, and in this book he does this without invoking any dire calamities that fuel so many kid books. A nice, calm read for upper elementary kids. B.