This summer, Nina decides to change things. She hatches a plan. There are sixty-five days of summer. Every day, she'll anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her neighborhood, and find out: does doing good actually make a difference? Along the way, she discovers that her neighborhood, and her family, are full of surprises and secrets.
- from the book jacket
It all starts with a high school teacher and Nina's neighbor. Mrs. Chung can't plant the marigolds she always plants because she is on crutches. Nina thinks about what her high school history teacher said on the last day of school, "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."
This is a sweet story, with a bit of romance and some best friend drama. Nina is a nice girl, but not perfect and she doesn't usually go out of her way to do nice things for others. Something as simple as picking up a paper her classmate dropped and returning it to her counts as a "good thing". I guess this proves that you don't have to be super nice to make a difference. Maybe just a little less inconsiderate.
I liked the book. I liked the message. I hope a lot of teens and pre-teens read it. If they were to try to be just a bit nicer to themselves and to others, the world would be a better place. But, I won't hold my breath.
I will say that the cover is a bit deceiving. The girl on the cover looks way older than 13.
This is on the Sunshine State Young Readers Award nomination list for 2016-2017. Last year I tried to read all the nominees but didn't quite make it. This year, I am getting a head start and trying again. Wish me luck!
Grades 4 thru 8, may appeal more to girls. (Reminds me of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, on last year's Sunshine State list.)