The team of David Levithan, David Ozanich and Chris Van Etten has a winner with this story of a girl whose mother is a long time actress on a soap opera. Since Mallory is tired of the trite lines and ridiculous storylines (Abducted by aliens! Long lost twins!), she writes her own version of a soap opera with more true-to-life characters, blogs about it, and manages to sell the idea to her mother's network. Obviously, there is a lot of fantasy involved in this, but the relationships make the somewhat fluffy story line worth it. Mallory's best friend wants to star in the production, but she's not a great actress. Mallory's boyfriend has a primary girlfriend, and "can't" drop her. Mallory's mother is over the top, and they don't get along well. I noticed that the spine of this has a "1" on it-- I wasn't necessarily expecting a sequel, but am looking forward to Likely Story: Red Carpet Riot and All That Glitters, since this was a "pink" book with a few more serious issues. (Not appealing to everyone (see comment)-- I often find that "pink" books are very much affected by the way I'm feeling on a certain day-- I must have been in the mood for a soap opera book!)
Bill Wallace's Buffalo Gal was a good historical novel set in the early 1900s. Amanda's mother is very interested in saving the buffalo, and travels to the west to do so. They meet up with a half-Native American boy who takes an instant dislike to Amanda but respects her when she almost beats him in a horse race. Lots of adventure, and a little romance, which is good since we have a class where they have to read a romance book, and the boys are complaining!
Another historical novel, this time set during the Depression, was Pieter Van Raven's A Time of Troubles. Roy's father gets out of jail (he was in for setting fire to his workplace), but his mother leaves, because she does not want to deal with the father's alcoholism. Roy and his father are "encouraged" to leave town by the neighbors and take off for California, where they eventually end up in the middle of a labor dispute with other migrant farm workers. This would be great for fans of problem novels who have to read history. It's cursed with bad 1990's cover art, but I am going to hand this to one of my really avid 8th grade readers because it did a nice job of covering one boy's struggle through a difficult period of history.