Can ordinary people be heroes? Pay it forward. Practice random acts of kindness. Does doing good really do any good? One summer. One girl. One plan. 65 ways to make a difference.
It's the summer before freshman year in high school and 13-year old Nina Ross is feeling kind of lost. Her beloved Grandma died last year; her super-lawyer parents work all the time; her brother's busy with his friends and his job at the pool; and her best friend Jorie is into clothes, makeup, and boys. While Nina doesn't know what her "thing" is yet, it's definitely not shopping and makeup. And it's not boys either. Though, has Eli, the boy next door, always been so cute?
This summer, Nina decides to change things. She hatches a plan. There are 65 days of summer. Every day, she'll anonymously do one small but remarkable good thing for someone in her family or neighborhood, and find out: does doing good actually make a difference? Along the way, she discovers that people are full of surprises and secrets. In this bighearted, sweetly romantic novel, things might not turn out exactly as Nina expects. They might be better.
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"Touching on universal feelings of loss, jealousy, love, and the gratification that comes from doing the right thing, the story should give hope to those who think one person can't possibly make a difference."
"Teens will easily ally with the kindhearted, insecure Nina and be charmed by the humor and beautifully defined characters. The unpredictable domino effect of Nina's good deeds is a joy to behold."
"Hurwitz has given readers a sensitive narrator struggling with real issues. Insightful writing, realistic dialogue infused with humor, and a sweet romantic element add depth to the story. Tween readers will identify with Nina and may be inspired to emulate her list of good things with their own."
"The transition of adolescence is a common theme in realistic fiction, but Hurwitz is an author who can explore a familiar experience in ways that give it fresh energy and unusual nuance; her writing is impressively perceptive even as it's engaging and accessible. Readers, themselves often noticers, will appreciate the celebration of a girl whose skill lies in seeing what others don't."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, hardcover, April 2014
Ember, paperback, April 2015
2/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cups grated carrots, firmly packed
Cream shortening and sugar, add egg and dry ingredients, then water and carrots. Bake 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven in a greased mold pan.