cover image What Comes Next

What Comes Next

Rob Buyea. Delacorte, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-525-64802-4

After sixth-grader Thea Ettinger witnesses the death of her friend, Charlie, who is struck by a car while the two are fishing, she withdraws into herself, hardly speaking and experiencing guilt- and trauma-fueled nightmares even after she, her parents, and younger sister move away to get a “fresh start.” When the family decides to adopt a dog, Thea doubts that the addition will help, but a loving rescue with a lazy eye gets her attention at the animal shelter and changes her mind about how companionship can heal. Buyea (the Mr. Terupt series) writes this emotional story from Thea’s perspective, surrounding her with an authentically drawn, cued-white cast, including Simon, a younger student who grows from annoyance to treasured friend; compassionate teacher Ms. Stacy; and new friend Rory, who uses sign language to reach out to Thea. Wrapping up tidily with a comforting payoff, this novel of pet adoption and community emanates warmth with a satisfying brevity and unembellished storytelling. Ages 9–12. Agent: Paul Fedorko, Paul Fedorko Agency. (June)