Judy Blume- In The Unlikely Event
In the Unlikely Event is Judy Blume’s latest adult novel, based on true events, that took place in the town of Elizabeth, NJ, in the 1950’s. Something most extraordinary is the way that the novel tells about events that the author lived through herself as a teenager. The novel is filled with unparalleled storytelling and the contrast of the suburban dream versus the ceaseless Cold War paranoia.
The story starts off with fifteen-year-old Miri Ammerman who lives with her single mother, 33-year-old Rusty. Miri, a normal teenage girl, is the main narrator of this story. She has a best friend, Natalie Osner, a crush, Mason, and dreams for the future. However, when an airplane crashes into a nearby river, and more planes start to crash, the community begins to panic, seeking answers.
No one in the community has ever seen anything like this before. The tension causes people to become paranoid and distrustful. Many believe it is the work of communists, while others turn to aliens and the supernatural. As lightning around the area begins to act strangely as well, new theories, such as government conspiracies, arise.
Disturbed and heartbroken, some of the townspeople seem like they will never recover again. However, Blume shows that life will go on by playing with time– fast-forwarding into the future and returning to the past. Blume illustrates how the fallout affects the next three generations, and how they dealt with it, using time to reveal how the characters eventually manage to find solace in one another and rationalize their experiences.
Judy Blume’s In the Unlikely Event shows how people can overcome unexplainable tragedies through friendship and kindness.
Through the emotional closeness to the characters that Blume crafts, readers feel and understand their emotions and shock and discover the wonder of living through their eyes. Blume’s In the Unlikely Event is an unfogettable story.
Jennifer Mathieu- Devoted
Devoted, by Jennifer Mathieu, is a young adult novel that focuses on Rachel Walker, a young girl belonging to an extremely religious family.
At first, this seems to be a typical teen romance novel, but as the novel progresses, it transforms into an unconventional narrative that raises real-world questions of what and what not to believe.
The story begins with Rachel’s daily life of attending Church, caring for her five younger siblings, dressing modestly and learning to be a wife and mother. As Rachel starts to doubt whether what she is told is truly the best path, she begins to feel frustrated in the role she plays, and begins to crave more than a life of religion and housekeeping.
When she meets Lauren Sullivan, a girl who has left the community and is now working nearby, she discovers that Lauren shared her dissatisfaction of an authoritarian life, and the two quickly become friends. Lauren and Rachel exchange emails, and through their discussions, Rachel realizes that she does not want a life controlled by others. Rachel must now escape the community, or live a life that is not her own.
Mathieu uses a combination of poetry and self-questioning throughout the plot to demonstrate Rachel’s development as she discovers the world around her, as well as herself. If you are looking for a book that expresses the darker side of extremism, the questioning of one’s beliefs, and that call to pursue your heart’s desire, Devoted is a novel that won’t let you put it down.
Moira Fowley-Doyle- The Accident Season
The Accident Season, a novel by Moira Fowley-Doyle, is an eerie, dark and powerful novel filled with magic, secrets and mystery.
The main character, Cara, is a normal teen, except for the fact that both she and her family are extremely prone to accidents at the end of October. Many of Cara’s relatives have died, leading her to believe that there is more to their mishaps than just plain coincidence.
When Cara hears that this year’s accident season will likely be a bad one, she recruits her sister, her stepbrother and her best friend to solve the long-hidden secret that has been plaguing her family all these years. When she finally discovers the shadowy origins of her family’s misfortune, she is forced to face her ghosts and right their wrongs.
Throughout the novel, there is a spiritual theme, which teeters back and forth between reality and the character’s imagination. The plot and characters are rich in emotional impact, and the loss and abuse are balanced by the friendship, romance and adventures.
Fowley-Doyle blends friendship, adventure, magic and secrecy into a contemporary young adult novel that forms an exquisite story. From the intense and profound descriptions to the development of the characters, this novel has definitely won its place as one of the best books of the summer.
by Shimana Bose