Monday, September 09, 2019

MMGM- The World Ends in April

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Always in the Middle and #IMWAYR day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers. It's also Nonfiction Monday.

McAnulty, Stacy. The World Ends in April
September 3rd 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Eleanor Dross is not having a successful middle school experience. Aside from her best friend, Mack, she has few people with whom she connects, and once she tries to dye and cut her own hair, she gets a lot of negative comments from her peers that make her even more anxious about everything. Londyn, who was somewhat friendly in elementary school, is downright scary now, and throws a ball in Eleanor's face in gym class. When Eleanor finds out that an asteroid is headed to earth and impact will occur in the spring, she is very concerned. Her Grandpa Joe is a survivalist "prepper" who runs frequent bug out drills and expects Eleanor and her two younger brothers to have their bags packed and organized. While she hasn't really enjoyed the drills lately, she loves her grandfather, and the thought of an asteroid hitting is a little bit of a relief. Along with Mack, Eleanor starts a "nature club" that is a cover for helping other kids learn how to prepare for TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). A sympathetic teacher, Mrs. Walsh, lets the group meet in her room after school. Eleanor is very anxious about running the meetings, especially when Londyn shows up. Londyn challenges Eleanor's thoughts, but is the mos fascinated by the thought of the asteroid. She helps write and pass out a tip sheet, and starts to hang out with Eleanor. Londyn's home life is a bit complicated, since her parents are divorcing and she and her mom are living with an aunt, and she hopes that her father will take the asteroid seriously and come to be with her. Eleanor's father is not happy with her obsession, and as the days tick down, she becomes more and more distraught, especially when she finds out that Mack is going to attend a school for the blind the following year. When the two girls (aided by Mack's distraction of the librarian) take over the video morning announcements and warn the students about what is supposed to happen in April, they get suspended. Does it even matter, since the world is supposed to be hit in a few days?
Strengths: We know Eleanor. We see her in the hallways at school all the time. Perfectly pleasant enough child, does okay in school, but has trouble making friends and just dealing with classmates. This is exactly the sort of student who would obsess over something like an asteroid. It's this verisimilitude that draws me to McAnulty's work; like The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, the synopsis of book didn't make it seem like it would interest me, but the writing and characters drew me right in. Mack's limited vision, and the way he manages, is a great addition to the story-- it's a fine line writing between writing a blind character and a character who is blind, and McAnulty nails it. She is also very matter-of-fact when describing characters, saying that they are white, black, etc. and mentioning a defining characteristic. I liked that. The grandfather is a terrific character, the father's frustration and apprehension warranted, and  the bits about reliable resources will warm any librarians heart. I loved that Mrs. Walsh and the father were very supportive and asked good questions about Eleanor's feelings.
Weaknesses: This was a bit on the long side, and the cover is not fantastic.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. It may take a little bit of hand selling, but it's a great story of middle school insecurity that students will read once they pick it up.

Pro fashion tip: Key chains are inexpensive and make great necklaces! I traded out the beads for my Deathly Hallows necklace, which was much less expensive than an actual necklace, and larger as well. I also have a nice Rosetta Stone necklace from the British Museum.

Wearing key chains as jewelry. Always classy.
Ms. Yingling


  1. I'm so glad to learn more about this one. I'll be looking for it very soon! Thanks for sharing, Karen!

  2. Sounds good, will put it on my list. I have a granddaughter who will love it!

  3. I'm really looking forward to getitng my hands on this one. Thanks so much for sharing! Have a happy reading week!

  4. Looking forward to this one! Need to push it up in my pile.

  5. I have heard of this one and it interests me. I just haven't gotten to it. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the review.