In Diana Lopez's Confetti Girl, Lina has her problems. Her mother passed away about a year ago, and her English teacher father has retreated behind books. She's been getting support from her best friend's mother, but the woman is increasingly bitter about her divorce, and wrapped up in making cascarones, confetti-filled eggs. To make matters really horrible, Lina is assigned Watership Downs to read in the 6th grade! (My daughter loved this. I did not.) This was a well-paced, realistic novel in which the main character happened to be Hispanic. A lot of cultural details are woven in, but the book is not about her being Hispanic, which I loved.
Escape Under the Forever Sky, by Eve Yohalem, is set in Ethiopia. Lucy's mother is the American ambassador, but Lucy hardly gets out to see the country at all. She is confined to her apartment, school, and her friend Tana's house. This seems silly to Lucy, especially when her mother tracks her down at a market, takes her home, and then grounds her. She sneaks out to a restaurant with Tana, and is kidnapped by people who don't agree with her mother's position on drugs in the country. She has to then escape and survive in the Ethiopian wilderness using the knowledge she has of the area. Fast-paced and readable. Not many books are set in Ethiopia!
Did I miss the memo on socks?