Holes by Louis Sachar
One of the only books that I think the movie did a good job of interpreting the book- but the book is still better. I was never a juvenile delinquent and never wanted to be- and I still didn't after reading this book, but it gives very interesting insight into the characters and backgrounds of those who do end up in places like Camp Green Lake. And it is a western/eastern european-style fairy tale as well! Try it now. Thank me later.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
This book started my love of retold fairy tales. And it is still, in my opinion, one of the best. The fascinating nature of the curse that Ella is under and her freedom despite its restrictions is inspiring. And the romance is handled very deftly. Whatever you do, DON'T see the movie. If you have seen it, forget it before you read the book- the book is so good and the movie so bad in comparison that, unlike Holes, I am sorry they made the movie- hopefully it will be remade eventually with the love and respect it deserves.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Anne is why I always wanted to be a redhead. She was the character I always wanted as a best friend when I was in 4th and 5th grade. Anne is adventurous and outspoken (unlike me) but loved books and imagination like I do. I was (and still am) sure that we would be "kindred spirits" if we ever could meet.
Anne of Windy Poplars by L. M. Montgomery
This is the only other Anne of Green Gables book that I read more than once. I love the adventure and spirit of the first book and the subsequent books seemed to be more sedate. Except this one. Anne goes to be a teacher at a school away from Green Gables and has to hold her own against a number of colorful characters in a way that again captured the fire that I found in Anne of Green Gables.
P.S. All of the YA books I have mentioned are in my house, so in case Hurricane Irene brings about the apocalypse a year early *heh* I will be fully prepared to share my wisdom with the new generation of rubble-dwellers.