Like many other YA novelists, Laurie Halse Anderson writes books about troubled teenagers (although their troubles vary widely on the crisis-o-meter). We usually avoid novels like these, but Anderson does such an excellent job with her characters that we get sucked in in spite of ourselves. Thoughtful and emotional without being too preachy, Anderson's books are a solid choice for anybody looking for a well-written dramafest.
Note: There is also a children's book illustrator named Laurie Anderson. This isn't her.