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Kids Fiction 401
compelling and heartfelt middle grade read
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AFTER THE WORST THING HAPPENS is a compelling middle grade about dealing with death and loss. Army Morand absolutely adores her dog, Maybe. After Maybe dies, Army feels horrible, especially because she inadvertently contributed to his illness. Dealing with the guilt on top of the loss, Army is very depressed and having trouble dealing with life stuff.

She helps to take care of her younger brother, Navy, and one day when she is picking him up, she sees some service dogs. She thinks of them again when she is thinking about how to help a neighbor who is struggling. Her neighbor has a non-verbal child, Madison, who is on the autism spectrum, as well as twin infants. Madison often escapes the house and climbs things, which scares her mother. The service dogs may be the answer to helping her neighbor, as they can be a companion to help non-verbal children and keep them safe. Suddenly, Army has a new purpose.

Army is a highly endearing character, and I appreciated hearing her story. The book covers a lot in terms of her relationships with family and friends, both old and new. Army grows throughout the book with the aid of the other characters. This is a really heartfelt and genuine read that captures Army so well.

Compelling, heartfelt, and highly readable, AFTER THE WORST THING HAPPENS is a great middle grade book about grief and personal growth. Highly recommend picking this one up.
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