|After the worst thing happens|
Author: Vernick, Audrey
Twelve-year-old Army is reeling after her thoughtlessness leads to her dog's death, but channels her grief into a plan to help keep the new neighbors' autistic daughter from wandering away.
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Kirkus Reviews (03/15/20)
School Library Journal (10/02/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/05/20)
The Hornbook (00/07/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/01/2020 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. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/02/2020 Gr 4–6—The worst thing that happens to 12-year old Army Morand is that her beloved pup Maybe dies as a result of something she did, and Army is not sure that she can ever get over her guilt and grief. Army's family is very supportive, but when a destructive storm threatens their town, they are busy with their business that helps people prepare for, clean up, and recover from disasters and damages. Army becomes distracted from her own problems when she accidentally befriends the new neighbor whose autistic daughter, Madison, has a habit of wandering away from home, climbing trees, and sitting on rooftops while her mother is busy with twin babies. Several threads weave together as Army helps prepare for the storm, becomes friends with someone who reaches out to her, and tries to find a way to protect Madison from harm (as she wishes she had protected her dog). With a wonderful supporting cast and a quirky-yet-loving family (including a brother named Navy), a story that might have become maudlin or saccharine is instead exciting, relatable, and heartwarming, from its tragic start to its very happy ending. VERDICT There is a lot packed into this story of friendship, loss, and family relationships, but it all gels into one bittersweet, uplifting tale of a young girl who finds strength that she didn't know she had.—MaryAnn Karre, Binghamton, NY - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.