Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
Martha and her family are getting ready to leave for summer vacation at her grandmother's on Cape Cod when there is a knock on her door. She opens it to find the mother of a classmate who died. Olive Barstow' mom hands Martha a journal entry of Olive's saying how much she wanted to see the ocean and how she would have liked to be friends with Martha.
Martha sets out for the Cape with all of this weighing in her mind. At the Cape, Martha struggles to gain the courage to be who she is as her life changes. She experiences her first crush, her first kiss, a near death experience, the desire (and fear) to be a writer.
This was a great little story and one I think many middle school students would enjoy and relate to.