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Sunday, January 29, 2017

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

AR Level: 3.5
AR Points: 6.0
AR Quiz Number: 170146
Page Count: 265

2017 is starting rough. The news is pretty negative no matter where you look, and sometimes it feels like looking out for your neighbor is not a value that many people are holding on to anymore. The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days, by Michele Weber Hurwitz could not have come at a better time. This book challenges that thinking and inspires readers to take action to make people's lives better.

Summertime for teens and pre-teens can be an exceptionally dull time. They aren't quite old enough to drive themselves around, and all of the old methods of keeping busy just don't cut it anymore. For 13 year old Nina, one afternoon of inner reflection changes all of that. Inspired by the recent passing of her grandmother, Nina decides to challenge herself to complete 65 anonymous acts of kindness in her neighborhood before the summer's end. Before long, her tiny acts begin to have big results for not only her neighborhood, but in her own relationships with friends and family.

I recommend this book to my intermediate and middle school readers for so many reasons. I love the idea that she came up with the challenge on her own, and no one asked her to do it. I also love that she completed the acts in secret, because completing the tasks was not about making herself look good, it was about helping others. Nina is not an extreme character in anyways, which makes her very relatable to readers.

If I could change one thing about this book, it would be the cover. While there is nothing artistically terrible about it, boys look at the pinks and pastel colors and immediately discard it as being a "girl's book". In reality, this book has a fantastic message for all readers, and with the relatively low AR level, it is accessible for many. While I recommend this book to my middle school students, it is fine for intermediate as well. There is one kiss towards the end, but that is about as romantic as it gets.

To learn more about The Summer I saved the World in 65 Days, check out  http://micheleweberhurwitz.com/ and as always, if you would like to reach me or follow along, stop by www.facebook.com/mssmithreads/