Like Nothing Amazing Ever Happened by Emily Blejwas

A poignant story of a boy picking up the pieces of his life after the unexpected death of his father, and the loyalty, concern, and friendship he finds in his small-town community.

Justin doesn’t know anything these days. Like how to walk down the halls without getting stared at. Or what to say to Jenni. Or how Phuc is already a physics genius in seventh grade. Or why Benny H. wanders around Wicapi talking to old ghosts. He doesn’t know why his mom suddenly loves church or if his older brother, Murphy, will ever play baseball again. Or if the North Stars have a shot at the playoffs. Justin doesn’t know how people can act like everything’s fine when it’s so obviously not. And most of all, he doesn’t know what really happened the night his dad died on the train tracks. And that sucks.

But life goes on. And as it does, Justin discovers that some things are just unknowable. He learns that time and space and memory are grander and weirder than he ever thought, and that small moments can hold big things, if you’re paying attention. Just like his math teacher said, even when you think you have all the information, there will be more. There is always more.

Set during the Gulf War era, Like Nothing Amazing Ever Happened is a story about learning to go on after loss, told with a warmth that could thaw the coldest Minnesota lake.

I loved this heart-warming and touching story about a boy who’s learning to adjust to a very different life. It is touching and real and a great novel to share with middle grade and middle school readers. I got my ARC via Net Galley way back in September (thank you, Delacorte/Random House!) and have been waiting and waiting until almost Pub Day to share with you all! I think any time a child has to deal with the death of a parent it uproots their entire world. And Justin’s process of grieving and learning to live a life without his father is beautifully and sensitively portrayed in this book.

Highly recommended! One for the classroom IMHO.

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