The World Ends in April

To Eleanor Dross, middle school is the worst. But thanks to her overly enthusiastic best friend Mack, whom she has known since kindergarten, it's survivable. Lately, though, mean girl Londyn has been making Eleanor's life miserable and, even worse, Mack keeps talking about transferring to a boarding school for the blind.

When Eleanor stumbles onto a questionable website that claims an asteroid will strike Earth in April--"Code Red. Certain collision. Expect global catastrophe."--she's more intrigued than concerned. Her Grandpa Joe is a prepper, "someone who spends their time and money preparing for the apocalypse," so she knows how to prepare for the worst. And if TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) means the end of middle school and an end to Mack's plans to leave, how bad could it really be? When an overheard lunch conversation between her and Mack piques the interest of other kids, Eleanor finds herself the inadvertent president of Nature Club, a secret survival group preparing students for the apocalypse, and her lonely life begins to change drastically.

Author and mechanical engineer Stacy McAnulty (The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl) has created an endearing heroine in Eleanor, a social outcast who hates math homework and slumber parties with equal vehemence. Despite the lone-wolf mentality she projects, it is only her tenacious belief in the predicted catastrophe that shields her from more personal anxieties about losing her best friend and the stresses of middle school social orders. Filled with information about NEOs (Near-Earth Objects), survival prep and a history of Earth's extinction events, The World Ends in April is a smart, funny and emotionally candid book about surviving in the world, whether an asteroid collision is imminent or not. --Jennifer Oleinik, freelance writer and editor

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