I really like books where the characters are not only lovable, but that they stick with me long after I finish the last page. These two books did that for me.
The Last Invisible Boy (Atheneum, 2008) by Evan Kuhlman is an illustrated novel. 12-year-old Finn Garrett believes he is disappearing from the grief of his father's death--not that he'll tell you what happened to his dad. But as he says, "This book...It's a runaway bus so anything can happen." Expect funny and sad moments. Definitely worth the read. Go to Evan's website, http://evankuhlman.com/ to watch the cool book trailer of The Last Invisible Boy.
I must check out his other book, Wolf Boy, too.
The Year the Swallows Came Early (The Bowen Press*, 2009) by Kathryn Fitzmaurice "Things that look just right come undone quicker than the last day of summer," says 11 year old Eleanor "Groovy" Robinson, who loves cooking and plans to go to culinary school when she is older. She and her friend Frankie have to deal with a number of things that go wrong one eventful summer--the year the swallows came early.
*Imprint of HarperCollins