Faith, Hope, and Ivy June, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Although Naylor's writing is fresh and realistic, creating two believable girls with their circle of friends, I felt that the book as a whole was unbalanced. The story of two Kentucky school girls from the richest and poorest counties given a chance to visit and learn from each other was enough; throwing in a mining disaster wasn't necessary.
Sparrow Road, Sheila O'Connor. A pleasant story of a girl confronting issues of identity and family in an interesting environment. I'd like a little more detail to the setting, and as an adult I found her whining and her mother's secrecy very annoying, but I don't think either would have struck me as a child reader.
Bread and Roses, Too, Katherine Paterson. A fun historical fiction set around the textile strike in Massachusetts in the early twentieth century. The two main characters were the bookish member of an Italian immigrant family and the illiterate son of a drunk American; they bounce off each other several times before ending up together in Vermont for the duration.
Lucky Breaks, Susan Patron. Unfortunately I read three books very quickly, and they all involved a bit of children behaving badly. The plot followed the familiar pattern of a child being a pill (betraying a friend, being reckless and rude), learning from her mistakes with the helpful assistance of a cadre of compassionate friends and family, and resolving to Do Better. On the other hand, I really wanted to hand this book to my niece so she could read it -- I think she'd really like it.