Paula Danziger Watch
I don't read many books but i'll be the first to admit I admired Paula Danziger's books especially "The cat ate my gymsuit" and "There's a bat in bunk five"
I only found out today Paula passed away as well back in 2004.
I think I read one of her books when I was eleven(ish). Something with the word 'pistachio' in the title. I quite liked it at the time.
She's written loads, I used to love the Cat ate my gymsuit and there's a bat in bunk five.