cover image The Summer I Saved the World... in 65 Days

The Summer I Saved the World... in 65 Days

Michele Weber Hurwitz. Random/Lamb, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-37106-3

Written in the spirit of Paul Fleisch-man’s Seedfolks and Catherine Ryan Hyde’s Pay It Forward, Hurwitz’s (Calli Be Gold) novel celebrates the surprising effects of small acts of kindness in one neighborhood. It all begins when 13-year-old Nina Ross decides to take a risk the summer before high school. Although she’s not usually “the kind of person who goes out of her way to help people,” she secretly plants a marigold bed for an injured neighbor who can’t do the gardening herself. The happy response from ailing Mrs. Chung inspires Nina to perform 64 more good deeds, one for each day of the summer. As Nina finds ways to help others, not everyone recognizes or appreciates her efforts. Nonetheless, she gains insight into the complicated lives and emotions of her neighbors, family members, and friends. Touching on universal feelings of loss, jealousy, love, and the gratification that comes from doing the right thing, the story should strike familiar chords with suburbanites and give hope to those who think one person can’t possibly make a difference. Ages 10–up. Agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)