Everything you need to understand or teach Close Enough to Touch by Richard Peck.
Close Enough to Touch presents a brief journey from loss to recovery and renewal narrated by Matt Moran, a seventeen-year-old high school junior in the Chicago suburbs, whose girlfriend, Dory Gunderson, has died suddenly and unexpectedly of an aneurysm. In Matt's present-tense narrative of events covering several weeks in the spring of his junior year, Peck reveals a young adult confronting not only the difficulties of loss and grief but also questions and problems involving individual identity, social class, and alienation.
The narrative follows Matt as he moves from withdrawal, silence, and obsession with the memory of Dory to guilt over the wearing away of her memory and eventually to an acceptance of her loss. This development is accompanied by rejection of Dory's clique of shallow upper-middle-class friends and an awareness that he has fallen in love with a senior girl, the witty, strongwilled, and individualistic Margaret Chasen.