A "Window" book
I wasn't sure I was going to like this book as it starts out with a lot of the story involving rap music and I was having a hard time getting interested. However, as I got further into it, I was hooked and became invested in the struggles of the various characters. This book provided a window for me to view several worlds of which I've never been a part: hip hop/rap culture, gangs, drugs, housing projects, poverty, and more. The language is rough, but without that, I don't think it would feel authentic.
I recommend it for high schoolers and mature junior high kids.