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Saturday, August 8, 2015

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

Judy Blume is a goddess amongst writers of young adult fiction, but this is her first novel for adults in 15 years.  And doing the math, she is rapidly approaching 80, so her years of writing may not go on too much longer.  And this one is a good one.

The book is fictional, but it is set at a time and place that are real.  There were three commercial airplanes that crashed taking off or landing at Newark airport, and they all had civilian fallout in the town of Elizabeth, NJ, where the author was a teenager at the time.  It is unthinkable that three planes would crash over that period of time in the United States as a whole, much less in one location, so the audience who will read this will have little experience with those events.  In fact, when I was reading the book, I thought that the situation was too extreme to be believed, which is another good example that real life is often more extreme than what we would be willing to accept in a work of fiction.  The book is told primarily from the standpoint of teenagers, who are in the midst of juggling important issues that adolescents face, but are also affected by these three disasters that affected their town.  The book puts you in their shoes and allows the reader to have a sense of what it would be like to feel so vulnerable and targeted.  There are also many sub stories that are told.  Recommended, especially if you are unfamiliar with Ms. Blume's work. 

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