|Image: Random House|
Middle Grade Monday features The World Ends in April by Stacy McAnulty. Eleanor Dross lives with her widowed dad and kid brothers. Her grandfather lives nearby and is a prepper, meaning he's a survivalist prepared for the end of the world. He has stockpiled supplies and trained his grandchildren to be prepared. Elle used to get a kick out of these drills, but lately, not-so-much. Until. Until she comes across a website posted by a former Harvard astronomer that posits that planet Earth is in the path of a huge asteroid.
The only person outside of her family that Elle is interested in saving is Mack, her bff since kindergarten. Mack is blind. He's the yin to her yang. He's chill and positive, she is so-not and prone to cynicism. Still, their friendship works. Mack insists that Eleanor involve other students in their preparation for TEOTWASKI — the end of the world as we know it. They form a "nature club" and Elle shares survival tips with the members, which include her nemesis, Londyn. As the countdown to April and collision date nears, Elle must come to terms with the fact that Mack may be abandoning her to attend a boarding school for the blind. THAT would be TEOTWASKI for Elle. If the asteroid hits, Elle won't need to worry about that. If it doesn't, not only will Elle will have a bit of a credibility problem, she will not have her single friend to help her through it.
Middle school dialogue and situations ring true in this fast-paced, compelling novel. Readers will feel for Elle, but will understand how her prickly cynicism keeps classmates at arm's length. They might even discuss what makes for credible sources on the internet! An extensive collection of back matter discusses this topic as well as other large impacts in recorded history; definitions; details about survival preparation and legitimate resources for further reading.
The World Will End in April is perfect for thoughtful readers who enjoyed the author's earlier, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (which I LOVED) or stories about misfits, middle school and friendship.