After the Worst Thing Happens
After the Worst Thing Happens
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Annotation: Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident, 12-year-old Army Morand channels her grief to hel... more
Catalog Number: #207382
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Holiday House
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 217 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-8234-4490-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-8234-4490-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2019025603
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Twelve-year-old Army's world revolves around her beloved pup, Maybe, and after Maybe passes away, she doesn't know how to cope with grief. Everyone has advice, but Army can't imagine moving on so quickly. As the community prepares for an actual storm gathering in the background, a few surprise turns conspire to pull Army back into the world of the living. A new resident in need of assistance, an odd classmate, and a young autistic neighbor crack her heart open to possibilities and new kinds of love. Vernick's story covers so much, but it manages to weave the different elements into a cohesive whole, with Army at the bright center of it all. The subjects are heavy, but Army's young voice infuses them with humor and warmth, even when her path forward seems uncertain. "Just go with it and make things happen before you totally understand how to do all of it," Army suggests, a hard-won lesson that young readers will take to heart.
Kirkus Reviews
A girl heartsick over her dog’s death finds solace in helping others.A serious animal lover, 12-year-old Army agonizes for her dog, Maybe, feeling responsible for the accident that caused his death. When Madison, a young girl with autism, moves into her neighborhood, Army stumbles into helping Madison’s mom, who also has twin infants, look after her. In short chapters told from Army’s earnest first-person perspective, she finds new ways to negotiate with her caring but emotionally reserved parents and steps out of her own comfort zone; this exploration of family dynamics is where the novel shines. Madison’s experience with nonverbal autism is a fairly sparse sketch; an author’s note at the end speaks about the sources she consulted to understand neurodiversity more fully. The detail emphasized most is that Madison often finds her way around locked windows and doors, leading Army to believe she must take action to help the family. While Army’s trajectory is a believable one, the unsubtle messaging of this story, which also includes Army’s finding a new friendship with a girl she’d previously not understood very completely, feels pedantic. All of the main characters seem to be white.A realistic but somewhat heavy-handed portrayal of finding a way through grief. (Fiction. 9-12)
Publishers Weekly
Army Morand adores her dog, Maybe, so when Maybe dies after eating the chocolate cupcakes Army left out, the 12-year-old is wracked with guilt and sorrow. It doesn-t help that her unemotional mother, who works with her father to repair homes and businesses after natural disasters, wants Army to move on too quickly. As the girl tries to grieve, she also attempts to avoid Elsie, an unpopular classmate interested in Army, and helps out next door, bonding with a new family-overwhelmed mom Irene, baby twins, and a daughter, Madison, with nonverbal autism. But Irene-s struggles may require more than just Army-s assistance, and it takes a hurricane hitting their New Jersey town for Army to realize that she can both effectively help others and learn to forgive herself. With moments of humor, Vernick (Two Naomis) weaves together a well-paced story that explores grief in all its raw pain, as well as the power of friends, family, and community to help heal. Ages 9-12. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. (July)
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ALA Booklist (4/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 3.0
Interest Level: 2-5

Left reeling after her thoughtless mistake causes a terrible accident, 12-year-old Army Morand channels her grief to help someone in need.

Army Morand feels like her life has been blown to bits when the worst thing imaginable happens--her beloved dog dies. It was an accident, but it was also Army's fault. She can't seem to stop hiding from everything and everybody including her best friend JennaLouise.

But then Army sees Madison, the little girl who moved in across the way, climbing a tree and walking down the street unsupervised. Her family is not neglectful, just overwhelmed. Army finds herself overcome with the need to help Madison's family to make sure another worst thing doesn't happen--which becomes even more challenging when a big storm threatens her town.

After the Worst Thing Happens is a bittersweet story about a girl surprised by the force of a growing need inside her to reach out and lend a hand while trying to escape the swirling sadness of her own sudden loss. In the end, it is about finding love and hope and friendship in very surprising places.

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