Let's talk about Shiloh. I remember seeing it around in many classrooms, but never actually read it until recently. It was never required, and I knew it was about a dog, and I didn't think I liked dogs (little did I know...). I should have picked it up - although, I suspect I would have missed a TON of the point of this book if I'd read it at 12.
This was a quick read for an adult, I easily finished it in an afternoon. The story isn't complicated - kid wants a dog, his parents say no, kid finds a dog, and tries to keep it himself without his parents knowing. Things go south.
But in the end, there's a lot of discussion about feelings that I think most kids - and let's be honest, adults too - are familiar with. Guilt. Having a bad secret. Unreliability of people around you. How you feel when your bad choice has horrible consequences. And, that things can work out after all once you own up to your mistakes and start picking up the pieces.
Confession: I read this almost two years ago, intending to blog about it right away...and here I am. I still think about it often, though, which I think says an awful lot.