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Apple Cider Slaying by Julie Anne Lindsey and Amy Melissa Bentley (narrator)
Arf by Spencer Quinn
Bingo Love by Tee Franklin
Bird & Squirrel All Together by James Burks
Castle Shade by Laurie R. King
Cat-Cat by Gertrude Hevener Gibson
Death by Café Mocha by Alex Erickson and Melissa Moran (Narrator)
Drew LeClair Gets a Clue by Katryn Bury and Devon Hales (Narrator)
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Volume 4 by Hinowa Kouzuki and Waka Miyama (Illustrator)
Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
I Am a Cat Barista, Volume 1 by Hiro Maijima
It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds
Key Player by Kelly Yang
Lost Lad London, Volume 1 by Shinya Shima
Lowriders to the Rescue by Cathy Camper and Raúl the Third (Illustrations)
Murder Spills the Tea by Vicki Delany and Shaina Summerville (Narrator) (2022)
My Dress-Up Darling, Volume 4 by Shinichi Fukuda and Taylor Engel (Translator) (2019)
Noragami: Stray God, Volume 15 by Adachitoka
Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows by Tehlor Kay Mejia
Paws and Effect by Sofie Kelly and Cassandra Campbell (Narrator)
A Poisonous Page by Kitt Crowe and Tina Wolstencroft (Narrator)
Room to Dream by Kelly Yang
The Sound of Thunder by J. Torres and Faith Erin Hicks (Illustrations) (2014)
A Sprinkle in Time by Dana Mentink and Stephanie Nemeth-Parker (Narrator)
Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier and Karen White (Narrator)
Wedding Cake Crumble by Jenn McKinlay and Susan Boyce (Narrator)
You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwaeke Emezi

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It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit: 11/22/22

It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit

It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit by Justin A. Reynolds (2022) is truth in advertising. I really, truly, expected it to be more of a metaphorical title, akin to Stuntboy, in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds and Raúl the Third (2022). But it's not, despite being written in a very similar tone.

Eddie Gordon who has ADHD hates doing his laundry. His mother and stepfather insist that he's old enough to do it himself. So for the summer he has hatched the perfect plan: he'll wear everything he owns even if it looks silly or is out of season until the day of the Beach Bash. That day he'll have his swim trunks. For the remaining couple days of summer, he'll do his laundry.

But... on the day of the Beach Bash his mother finally figures out what he's been up to. Or, I suspect, she knew all along and has waited for this day to point out just how stupid an idea his plan was. Regardless, he ends up stuck at home, by himself, doing all the laundry he should have been doing while the rest of his family (and most of the neighborhood) leave for the annual Beach Bash.

And that's when the power goes out. The power going out is written in such a way that an older reader — someone who has experienced a transformer blowing — will recognize a possible source of the outage. The power being out at first just means Eddie's not going to finish his laundry. He now has no hope of making it to any of the Beach Bash this year.

Even after Eddie hooks up with a few other kids who have been left behind for one reason or another, the novel seems rather pedestrian. It's kids seeing what they can get away with while everyone else is away. None of them even try calling their families until of course all their cellphones' are drained from playing games on them.

That's the set up. It seems like any other end of summer novel of youthful shenanigans. But it isn't. The last fifty pages or so are such a paradigm shift that I was actually shocked down to my very core. This reaction is again, despite the straightforward, no nonsense title. Middle grade titles are often full of histrionics. So I tend to take them with a grain of salt. This one, though, damn!

I hope there's a sequel someday. Right now it ends on a banger of a cliff hanger.

Like his other novels, It's the End of the World and I'm in My Bathing Suit sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. Eddie and his neighbors as children without much in the way of tools or agency are marginalized travelers (66). Their destination is home (66) in that they are stuck at home and want to get their families safely home. Their route is the Blue Highway, through the neighborhood streets as they try to figure out what's going on and what they should do.

Five stars

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