The Probability of Everything

HarperCollins/Clarion. Jun. 2023. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063256552.
Gr 3-7–Nigerian American Kemi Carter, 11, considers herself a scientist, in particular a scientist of probability. When a giant asteroid, AMPLUS-68 has an 84.7 percent chance of hitting Earth in four days, Kemi decides to create a time capsule to make sure future earthlings know how incredible her family was. They may not be famous, or have invented anything, but each member of Kemi’s family deserves to be remembered for what makes them special. While gathering items from her family, including her pregnant mom, little sister, and cousins, she realizes she doesn’t know what one item represents her dad. He recently left his time-demading job to be with their family, and their move to a predominantly white neighborhood has had bumps, with some not accepting them because of their race. As the apocalypse quickly approaches, Kemi finds each family member supportive of her plan, but continues to seek out her dad’s true passion. As the countdown progresses, readers will likely be contemplating their own time on Earth, when a huge plot twist hits. Everett has woven together big themes of racism, mortality, and grief with a heartbreaking story that will stick with readers long after the conclusion. Teachers will find much to discuss, making it a perfect choice for read-alouds or book groups.
VERDICT Thought-provoking and utterly unique, this is an impactful book that deserves a place in all middle grade classrooms and libraries.

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