Charlyn Trussell's Reviews > The Great Unexpected

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
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Jul 28, 12

bookshelves: family_story, fiction, friendship, humor, magic, orphans, strong-female-character, ireland
Recommended for: Grades 4 and up
Read on July 28, 2012, read count: 1

(Reviewed ARC) Remember the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: it is alive and well in this book, but Kevin Bacon is never mentioned. No, it's the idea of connectedness, here, although you don't realize that until later. At first, it's just the story of two orphans, Naomi and Lizzie, their lives and how their lives are changed after the boy Finn falls out of tree. The girls and their guardians live in the town of Blackbird Tree; across the sea in Ireland, another story is being played out at Rook Orchards (a rook is the English term for blackbird).

Naomi narrates her story and the reader learns a great deal more about life in Blackbird Tree than is learned from the snippets of the story in Ireland the narrator provides. But there is a pattern: two girls who are like sisters here; two sisters who became estranged in Ireland. There is a boy named Finn who causes strain between both sets. There are trunks full of clues from the past in both locations. And the solicitor Mr. Dingle is sent from Ireland to America to tie the story together. And then, there are the crows and the dogs and the magic of Ireland.

Creech is a masterful storyteller, combining magic, humor, and mystery in this tale. Naomi's tale of the strange happenings and the somewhat tragic background of the many characters draws the reader into the story. The mystery of what is going on between the characters in America and those in Ireland will intrigue the reader. And the ending will...well, you just need to read it.

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