Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Jack is grounded - for the entire summer. He had accidentally fired his father's World War II souvenir rifle. Should I also mention that he also mowed down his mother's cornfield? He thought that he was going to have a boring, endless summer. With his frequent nose bleeds, the fires in town, and writing obituaries, he has anything but a boring summer.
He writes obituaries because Miss Volker, the town coroner, has arthritis so bad that she can hardly hold a phone. Actually, it is Miss Volker historic perspective and Jack's collection of history books that turn out to be his salvation. He learns and grows so much in that summer of 1962. He even drives Miss Volker's car. How cool is that for a twelve-year-old?
He was certain that Miss Volker didn't kill any of those original founders of Norvelt. This semi-autobiographical novel is both gross and humorous and give both boys and girls many things to ponder.