I grew up reading Judy Blume’s famous novels for kids and teens such as the 1970s classics Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Her books for adults have been few and far between. In fact, when In the Unlikely Event was released last year, it was her first adult novel in seventeen years. It was worth the wait.
At the center of the plot are three plane crashes that actually occurred in Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1950s. The author grew up there, and experienced these airline disasters as a girl. The main character is teen Miri Ammerman, but the story actually follows several different residents of the town. Blume’s ability to make us care about so many different characters is astounding. I felt that the people I was reading about could easily be my friends and neighbors.
I listened to this book on audio, and the reader, Kathleen McInerney, did an amazing job of making me feel like I was in New Jersey in the 1950s. (Sidenote: I just learned that this actress also voiced Ash Ketchum in the Pokémon television series.)
I highly recommend In the Unlikely Event to fans of realistic fiction. It would be a great book to take on your next vacation… especially if you aren’t flying.