I think Laurie's books are big over in the States (if anyone could confirm this, I'd be interested to know), but as far as I'm concerned, she deserves recognition and popularity everywhere. All over the world, nay, the universe. She is THAT good.
For starters, I'd recommend SPEAK and WINTERGIRLS. Both books tackle serious issues, but I'd never categorize them as issues books. The writing is simply gorgeous. Laurie also writes brilliant historical YA (I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of CHAINS), AND picture books. That's a whole lot of talent wrapped up in one writer lady.
If any of you do read (or have read) any of Laurie's books, I'd love to hear your thoughts.