If you have not yet read Gary Schmidt, I highly recommend his books to parents and young adult readers alike. (You will have to decide if his books are appropriate for your upper elementary-age child.)
Okay for Now describes the personal journey of 14-year old Doug Swietack through the trials of an abusive father, a judgmental community, and searching for personal identity in a world of (im)possibilities. It is a story of determination, hope, friendship, and new beginnings. I laughed and cried and wanted all of the people I love to have a chance to read it if they wanted!
Schmidt's story is a powerful reminder of how self-deception on a parent's part to excuse unkind behavior impacts children. I am reminded how children can see through adult behavior, and how they learn from it and imitate it even when they sometimes don't want to. It is what they know. I was also reminded that as a community, we must look beyond appearances, speech and other misleading mannerisms when interacting with children (and teens) who have inappropriate behavior to see the potential for what lies inside.
I finished this book the same day I heard this quote, and the two certainly coincide: "Children are highly vulnerable. They have little or no power to protect or provide for themselves and little influence on so much that is vital to their well0-being. Children need others to speak for them, and they need decision makers who put their well-being ahead of selfish adult interests" (http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/protect-the-children?lang=eng&media=audio).
Other books by Gary D. Schmidt that I would recommend: The Wednesday Wars and Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. Here's more about Schmidt: http://www.hmhbooks.com/schmidt/index.html.