cover image After the Worst Thing Happens

After the Worst Thing Happens

Audrey Vernick. Holiday House/Ferguson, $17.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4490-8

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. [em]Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. (July) [/em]