Spacer and Rat, by Margaret Bechard (Roaring Brook 2005)(middle grade)
Jack has lived his entire life at Freedom Station, a supply outpost run by the Company for those en route to the asteroid belt. His life is under control, and he has booked passage to finally meet relatives at the even more remote Liberty Station. Then he meets Kit, an "Earthie," which by definition means trouble. Worse, she carries a contraband maintenance "bot" named Waldo the Company is seeking to get its hands on. Should he turn them in or help them complicate his life?
In Spacer and Rat, Margaret Bechard has created a "world" that will feel familiar and yet fresh, with engaging and compelling characters.