"A new look at an age-old fact: change is hard but maybe not as hard as what one might imagine." —Kirkus
"Gianferrari's choice of language fits this determined dog who views goodbye as 'an itch that couldn't be scratched' or 'tug without war, hide without seek.' And how welcome that Zara's wheelchair is portrayed only in the illustrations, presented as just another facet of her life." - Booklist, STARRED review
I don't know how she does it, but Susan Vaught just keeps coming up with lovable characters in desperate situations. Her latest middle-grade mystery novel, SUPER MAX AND THE MYSTERY OF THORNWOOD'S REVENGE, will be out August 29, and now she's busy writing the next one, ME AND SAM-SAM HANDLE THE APOCALYPSE, which I have to say, I think is going to be her finest book yet, and that's saying a lot.
The "me" in the title is Jesse, a girl whose mother is serving in Iraq, whose father has just been accused of a crime and hauled off to jail, whose pipsqueak Pomeranian, Sam, she is training to sniff for bombs like her mom's Army dog, and who has never had a friend before—until now, when new kid Springer turns up in Jesse's secret clubhouse, despite the "keep out" sign written in blood-red, dripping nail polish. Jesse is quote-on-the-spectrum-unquote, as Springer puts it—and Springer himself seems to have a lot in common with Jesse, even if his dad just sees him as weird and undisciplined. For me, personally, as I read the samples chapters, seeing Jesse recognize herself in Springer and hand him her own coping tools, and seeing him relax and trust so quickly, was incredibly powerful.
But this isn't the whole story! Woven into the storyline I've described (which includes trying to figure out who DID steal the money Jesse's dad is accused of taking) is the storyline that starts a week later—when their town is flattened by a tornado. I could be wrong, but I think Sam's sniffer-training is going to come into play here.
Sylvie Frank at Paula Wiseman Books, who has published all of Susan's middle-grade novels, has signed this one up as well, and it's slotted for a spring 2019 release.