A year after the death of his mother, a major in the Air Force, eighth grader Derrick preps for doomsday.
If it weren’t for the Apocalypse Soon! blog, Derrick wouldn’t know that the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park will go off in just three weeks, on Sept. 21. He wouldn’t know how to prepare for the “big one” by reinforcing his family’s shed, practicing pushups, and laying in survival supplies such as MREs and fish amoxicillin. His friends only humor him, but preparing for the end helps calm Derrick’s buzzing skin and panicked sweats. If only the weird neighbor girl didn’t keep poking her nose into everything. Misty’s nice and funny, but why is she throwing hatchets in the yard, for goodness’ sake? Not to mention her sewer spelunking and pigeon training. Derrick’s focused only on his apocalypse anxiety and is detatched from everything else: from family and friends, from vague memories of Misty’s recent kidney transplant, and, most of all, from grief. Misty, ever plucky, however, is determined to befriend Derrick and become his “apocalypse assistant.” With her persistent empathy and philosophical kookiness, she sometimes borders on manic pixie dream girl, but this is overall a sympathetic and even sometimes funny look at anxiety disorders and the complexity of grief. Derrick and Misty both seem to be white.
The terrifying allure of survivalism makes this journey through trauma a compelling one. (author’s note) (Fiction.11-13)