The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz

“It is very often the ordinary things that go unnoticed that end up making a difference. As you embark upon your high school careers, be unnoticed, but be remarkable.”  Mr Pontello, eighth grade history teacher.

I’m charmed to bits by this sweet story.
Nina Ross, following the advice of her grade 8 history teacher, decides to do one kind thing anonymously for every day of her summer holidays.

It begins with one simple deed; planting the flowers her elderly neighbor, Mrs Chung, can’t plant herself because of a broken leg. As the deeds add up, her neighborhood transforms from a sterile closed off collection of families and individuals into a vibrant connected community.

While the good deeds play a significant role in this tale, Nina has numerous other issues to deal with. She’s still grieving the loss of her grandmother, the only person who really got her. Jorie, her self-absorbed friend, doesn’t seem to have any inkling about who Nina is, or what she might want for herself. (Yet, while it might be fraught with difficulty, the two girls still have a loving relationship) Nina’s lawyer parents are so caught up in the most important divorce trial of their careers, they have no time for Nina or her brother, Matt. Matt seems to have almost disappeared from the family, showing up to sleep and shower before he is off again to some mysterious rendezvous.

The neighborhood is full of interesting characters. Mrs Millman, the conspiracy kook, is certain the empty house on the block is haunted. Mrs Cantalani is expecting her fourth child at any time and has three wild boys who manage to wreck havoc in their wake. Mr Dembrowski, the terror of the neighborhood, has many secrets. Mrs Chung has a history of stories and beliefs. Mrs Bennett struggles alone to support her two boys; four year old Thomas, who runs around with his wooden sword capturing invisible criminals; and Eli, Nina’s age, who tries to help out his mother, and deal with his reprobate of a father.

I can think of at least 6 girls off the top of my head who will love this book as much, if not more than I do. 

I gave this book to my brother, a grade seven teacher, who is already coming up with plans for how he will use it in his classroom. 

I'm thinking a few boys I know might also enjoy it. 

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