The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt is a great book and I recommend it. It's a young adult book set in New York in the late 60s. Holling Hoodhood doesn't leave school early to go to bible study with the rest of his class so he gets to hang out with his teacher and read Shakespeare. He's so excited! He's not.
I love this book. It's really sweet and complicated and deals with all the stuff you deal with in jr. high. I think you'll like it and I think you should read it with your kids if they are 12 and up.
I don't want to ruin it, but here's a spoiler. Holling and his buddy meet their baseball idol and he turns out to be a jerk and Holling's friend gives back his signed baseball out of loyalty. It's really moving and good but it's not so sophisticated that it will go over your kids' (or tired adults') head.
I believe in the underlying premise of this book, which is that literature enriches our lives because reading it expands our understanding of the human condition.
It's a great book. My friend, Amy, gave it to me for my birthday.
Here's Amy. I like to think she's reading The Wednesday Wars and thinking, "Kacy would love this."