Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly (David Fickling, 2004). Emma and Abby used to be best friends and share their love of fantasy and sci fi, but that was back when Karen Sipp called Emma a "freak." A new school offered a new chance to start over, to be cool, and so Emma left Abby and their friendship behind. Then one day Emma sees Abby on a bus, and the next she knows, no one may ever see Abby again. Ages 10-up.
Missing Abby is a title with a double meaning. Abby is a missing kid, and Emma misses her. Much of the focus of the book is on this discarded friendship and the pressure to fit in among one's peers.
It's powerful stuff. I remember being dumped by a couple of friends, one in elementary school and the other in junior high--in both cases because the same popular bully offered them a sort of amnesty for rejecting me.
Like Abby and even Emma, I fell into that smart-kid, sci-fi/fantasy fan category of the social structure, and like Emma, I hid it from most people who knew me back then. Also like Emma, I pretended to be someone else for several years in an effort to fit in.
Now the same things that embarassed me about myself offer the most delight. For example, I write gothic fantasies and blog about new comic books. (Okay, they offered delight then, too. These days I just don't care so much what anyone else thinks of that.)
Junior high, which is now generally called middle school, is socially wretched for the most part. A book like Missing Abby, though, does a good job of putting it in perspective.
Note: I never had a Darth Vader alarm clock like Emma's, but I did eagerly await each installment of the radio production of "Star Wars: A New Hope" (my first and most successful NPR listening experience) and agree with her about Jar-Jar Binks.