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13 September 2023 THE PROBABILITY OF EVERYTHING by Sara Everett, HarperCollins/Clarion, June 2023, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-06-325655-2


“The sky was all purple

There were people runnin' everywhere

Tryin' to run from the destruction

You know I didn't even care”

– Prince (1982)


“I carefully climbed out from the bed and walked over to the window.

Somehow, I knew before I opened the curtains that everything had changed. That yesterday when it all felt like a dream, when it all  could have been a dream, was over. My heart drum-drum-drummed in my chest as I moved the curtains.

I could see it now. AMPLUS-68.

It sat there in the sky, big and round and bright like the sun. Except it was purple and all the light coming from it was purply blue. It felt like the whole world–the trees, the cars on the road, other houses–was slightly tinged with purple.”


Everything changed yesterday. As we learn from eleven-year-old Black aspiring scientist and statistician Kemi Carter, the collision of two asteroids in space altered the trajectory of one of them. The bottom line is that the asteroid AMPLUS-68 is now barrelling toward Earth. Scientists estimate that, in four day’s time, there is a roughly 85 percent chance that it will hit our planet and presumably end human life as we know it.


Holed up with her extended family in her aunt’s home, and desperate to do something before the world ends,  Kemi decides to compile a time capsule so that future Earth dwellers or visiting extraterrestrials can access some information about her and the other humans who were here. She encourages her relatives to contribute to the box of mementos designed to tell the story of their family in the days before the end.


“Statistics told us what could or would probably happen in life, but they never told us what definitely would. Statistics could make us feel like we could predict, but really, life just had to happen and then we had to live with it.”


There are amazing twists to this memorable tale. I did my best, and was (mostly) successful at keeping the tears from falling onto the pages of the book. Fearing that I’ll give something away, I’ll stop there and enthusiastically encourage libraries serving tween and younger teen readers to immediately add this moving, jaw-dropping read to their collections. 


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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