After the Worst Thing Happens
Army Morand feels like her life has been blown to bits when the worst thing imaginable happens--her beloved dog dies. It was an accident, but it was also Army's fault. She can't seem to stop hiding from everything and everybody including her best friend JennaLouise.
But then Army sees Madison, the little girl who moved in across the way, climbing a tree and walking down the street unsupervised. Her family is not neglectful, just overwhelmed. Army finds herself overcome with the need to help Madison's family to make sure another worst thing doesn't happen--which becomes even more challenging when a big storm threatens her town.
After the Worst Thing Happens is a bittersweet story about a girl surprised by the force of a growing need inside her to reach out and lend a hand while trying to escape the swirling sadness of her own sudden loss. In the end, it is about finding love and hope and friendship in very surprising places.
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.