My favorite -- which I've just reread -- is called Three Lives to Live. This book has actually been a huge influence on the way I write, and also the way I edit. It's written as protagonist Garet's 'autobiography' for a 7th-grade school project, which means about a third of the book is complaints about her English teacher criticizing her for not doing what "The Professional Writer" would do. At one point the teacher complains that Garet needs to use more active speech verbs than 'said'.
Garet's response is to rewrite the offending passage, like so:
"I wouldn't want to risk it. I bet you wouldn't either," I chirp.
"I would so," she blubbers.
"You would not," I yelp.
"How much do you want to bet?" she queries.
"I'll bet a million dollars," I coo.
"You don't have a million dollars," she yawns.
"Then I'll bet anything you like," I yap.
"You don't have anything I like," she bellows, "so I guess I won't bet after all."
"Chicken!" I grin.
I THINK OF THIS EVERY TIME I'm about to recommend to someone that they vary their word choice in a dialogue section. There's a lot to be said for the invisible said!
(The seventh-grader whose autobiography involves a lot of bodice-ripping from a love-crazed duke suggests that Garet add 'breathed throatily' to her collection of speaking verbs. I love that seventh-grader.)
...meanwhile, the actual plot involves Garet's relationship with the rest of her family: her grandmother, whom she lives with, and her twin sister, Daisy, who isn't actually not her twin sister, she just came down the laundry chute one day a few months ago. Their grandmother refused to provide any information and insisted that Garet just had to adapt to having a sister in the house. Garet is not adapting to having a sister in the house. Daisy is prettier and smarter and weirder and gets EVERYTHING, including a canopy bed and a laptop computer, ugh! (Sidenote: the book was written in 1993, and I'd forgotten laptop computers were already invented then!)
Then about midway through there's the reveal that ( spoilers get hilariously weird below below! )
I had not forgotten how much I loved this book, but it's nice to be confirmed in how much I love this book! I'm kind of sad now that it's much too late to nominate it for Yuletide. MAYBE NEXT YEAR.