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In the Unlikely Event

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  63,090 ratings  ·  7,207 reviews
In her highly anticipated new novel, Judy Blume, the New York Times # 1 best-selling author of Summer Sisters and of young adult classics such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, creates a richly textured and moving story of three generations of families, friends and strangers, whose lives are profoundly changed by unexpected events.

In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published June 2nd 2015 by Knopf
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Mary Kay Myrmel There is a list in the front of the print edition for just that reason. It is hard to keep track of all of the characters and how they are related to …moreThere is a list in the front of the print edition for just that reason. It is hard to keep track of all of the characters and how they are related to the story.(less)

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 ·  63,090 ratings  ·  7,207 reviews

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Chelka Posladek
Apr 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
I didn't hate this book, necessarily, but it took me about 200 pages to get into it. The story is told from multiple point of views--and by multiple I mean like 20. Each perspective gets about a page and a half before the POV switches again. I thought this made the "action" crawl, and it was hard for me to keep going. By 200 pages, I was invested enough in the characters to care what happened. I normally wouldn't give a book that much time, but I wanted to finish it and give Judy Blume the benef ...more
Jun 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For the past 14 years, I've taught middle school students in three schools in Elizabeth, NJ, hometown of Judy Blume and the setting of this novel. Two of the three schools where I have taught were the schools (Hamilton, now a high school and Battin, now a K-8 school) that narrowly missed getting hit by the first and second crashes. I can look out my current classroom window and see where crash two happened. It's right across the street. Ironically, from the same window, I can see the skyline of ...more
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Judy Blume. The name brings a warmth to it as memories flood back. Your books grew with me through my prepubescent years. "Super Fudge" was a rite of passage. "Are you there God, it’s me Margaret" explained the changes taking place in my young female body. So of course, I was delighted to find out you had written another book after a seemingly long gap in my life.
But alas, "In the Unlikely Event", made me realize I’ve matured. The novel just didn’t do for me what your earlier ones could. Yes, it
Three unlikely events happened in quick succession, and I'm not talking about the planes yet: that I got this book off library hold almost immediately; that I started reading it and didn't stop; and that I enjoyed it. So I feel responsible to try to contribute a useful review.

Don't let the plane crashes fool you: this is a Judy Blume book through and through. All the typical Judy preoccupations - or rather, all the typical preoccupations of the typical Judy adolescent and young adult protagonist
Doug Bradshaw
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
Only an established, popular author could have gotten this book published. It's as if she wanted to reminisce about growing up in a small community in New Jersey and the fact that three planes went down over a short period of time would somehow turn it into a tale worth telling. But it didn't. I was bored throughout, always hoping something would make it more exciting. It was kind of like watching old episodes of "Leave it to Beaver," kind of nostalgic, but not what I'm looking for in my reading ...more
Jun 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
I have a rotation of things I use for bookmarks, and one of them is a recycled piece of mailing cardboard I write good quotes on. I started Judy Blume's latest with that bookmark, thinking this powerhouse would surely give me some good words to copy. I was wrong.

I thought this was terrible. There's too much telling and not enough showing, and I think her editor must have just passed this through to the printers without a close look at sentence structure and style. I expect more from Judy Blume t
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it

3.5 stars

Though this book is publicized as a Judy Blume book for adults it feels more like a YA book to me. The story is set in 1950s Elizabeth, New Jersey, and follows a number of people who are profoundly affected by three local plane crashes that occur within three months, killing passengers as well as people on the ground.

The book is told from the rotating points of view of several characters but centers around 15-year-old Miri Ammerman, a Jewish girl who lives in a loving, nurturing home.
Allison Renner
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love Judy Blume, and I was really excited about her new adult novel. I love her young adult books, but Summer Sisters has been a book I’ve re-read for many years and always enjoyed it. I was hoping this book would be another I could re-read often. Instead, it fell flat. It was hard to get through. The story had so much promise - three unexplained plane crashes in one town within a sixty day span! What was causing the crashes? How was the town reacting and coping? But the book was mainly about ...more
Samantha Mitchell
When Judy Blume was a child, three planes crashed in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey within three months of each other. At 77 years old, she wrote a fantastic novel: true to the era and completely capturing me from the beginning!

She describes how that time in her life has always haunted her, to the point where she finally chose to do more research and it became the plot for her new book. The story is told by multiple characters, and they all become inter-connected through the crashes.

Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Judy Blume is back! I was very excited to receive an advance copy of this book and couldn't wait to dive in. The book is fiction but it's based on 3 real plane crashes that happened in Elizabeth,NJ in the 1950's. There are a lot of narrators in this book and by a lot I mean at least 20. At first I found that really distracting and confusing but as the novel moves forward and you make the connections ( I had to draw a chart) it works really well. My favorite character was Miri, a local 9th grader ...more
Three planes crash over a period of 58 days over the town, Elizabeth, NJ, during a terrible winter of 1951 and 1952. It forms the historical background of this novel. Several aspects of the era are used to build the scenarios around the different people in the book, which makes it interesting reading. However, several families are introduced with several of them becoming protagonists in the story, which really became a challenge.

The author is an excellent storyteller. I just couldn't keep up the
Carol Brill
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
There are parts of this story I rate 4+ and parts that for me are a 3. This is primarily Miri's story and that narrative is what I found most interesting. Miri is a teen being brought up in a very loving, supportive family--her single mother, Rusty, her grandmother, Irene whose house they live in, and her Uncle Henry. The story opens in 1987 when Miri is trying to decide if she should board a plane to return to her hometown, Elizabeth NJ. Thirty-five years earlier when she was a teen, a series o ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I almost wanted to shelve this book under "historic fiction" because, technically, it qualifies: In the Unlikely Event is a fictionalized telling of real events that happened in 1951-52 in the small town of Elizabeth, New Jersey, when planes flying out of Newark Airport mysteriously experienced mechanical failures and crashed. But the plane crashes, ultimately, are only the backdrop for this story. Judy Blume is doing something very clever where she uses the plane crashes to draw the reader in, ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

As a young girl, I devoured everything written by Judy Blume, from Superfudge to Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Forever as well as her adult novels Smart Women, Wifey, despite the fact I wasn't yet even a teenager. I remember being excited when her third adult novel, Summer Sisters, was published in 1988 and seventeen years later we finally have a fourth and, Judy Blume herself confesses, her last, In the Unlikely Event.

While the tone and style of Blume's writing remains remarkably fam
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Judy Blume has kept rather quiet in the last couple of years. So I was delighted when my colleague gave me the galley of this book. The book is extremely morbid and there were a lot of things I liked, but a few things I didn't. The premise is that a small town in New Jersey deals with a bunch of plane crashes that happen very close together. The book focuses on a bunch of people who are affected by the plane crash. The book has a lot of little chapters, and each one focuses on different characte ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Gonna be honest, not very impressed.

First of all, Blume is a very simple, to-the-point, few-bells-and-whistles writer. She says it; she doesn't dissect it too much, and she moves on. There are pages of dialogue where people simply talk back and forth, back and forth without any dialogue tags, and you have no idea what they're doing. Other than talking, that is. A lot of sections are as simple as: She ate the cake. He had cake, too. Then they went to the movies.

I found it monotonous and the only
South Buncombe Library
1 star. Instead of writing a review, I'm just going to paste the text from an email I sent to my mother this morning and call it a day:

Absolutely do not waste your time on Judy Blume's latest. It's the worst-- think The Boston Girl meets plane tragedies with a whole lot of boring yuck thrown in.

Maybe 4.5 stars - some pretty good historical fiction here. This wasn't just a run of the mill story about growing up in the 50s. There was a lot of love, tragedy, insanity, heartache, infidelity, intolerance, etc. Blume kept me guessing and I was frequently shocked/surprised throughout.

Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be in the minority here, but I absolutely loved this book!
Set against the backdrop of Elizabeth, New Jersey, during a time when three planes fell from the sky within three months, is a wonderful love letter of sorts to the 1950's. I felt like I had stepped back in time, tucking myself into a corner and watching people grapple with their lives, and these shocking events taking place around them.
While the crashes themselves are obviously dramatic and tragic, there are also the everyda
Jan Rice
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, history

In the unlikely event...she hears the flight attendant saying in her head. Life is a series of unlikely events, isn't it? Hers certainly is. One unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich, complicated whole. And who knows what's still to come?

I didn't really know who Judy Blume was, other than some vague memory of my daughter reading her as an adolescent, and for some reason that made me think the author would be younger than I am. I read the excited stories in the media that this wou
I've read Judy Blume books before, this is my 5th, so I knew what to expect. She is best known for her children's novels, especially for her classic Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. But it's been 17 years since she wrote her last adult novel, so her fans were duly excited when she published In the Unlikely Event.This book was based on events from her childhood, the tragic crashes of three passenger planes in Elizabeth New Jersey, all within a three month period. An inconceivable and stagger ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this one. I haven't read Judy Blume other than Are you There God It's Me Margaret waaay back when in the olden days. I like the way she writes. It's not high brow literature, it was just a good story. Apparently this is based on real events from the town where Ms. Blume grew up. I cannot imagine how any town would be able to cope with three planes crashes. I loved finding out how all the character's stories came together. I also liked that I got to find out how everyone's lives ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
In honor of Judy Blume's birthday yesterday, I am posting the review for her last novel. I reviewed it for the now discontinued literary site, Three Guys One Book, but didn't post it here. So here it is:

All my life, I’ve had all kinds of friends, many of whom would never get along with each other. One of the best things about being a voracious reader is being able to hang out while reading with so many different kinds of writers: highly literary writers, mystery, thriller, science fiction, and
This came across more as a love letter to the 1950’s or a homage to the plane crash victims, than a story with an actual plot. I had no idea going in that this was based somewhat on facts. There were actually three plane crashes, in the span of a few months, that took place in Judy Blume’s hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Blume explores how everyone, not literally but that’s what it felt like at times with the alternating perspectives, in the town copes in the aftermath. I listened to the audi
Megan Johnson
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
You know, I wasn't sure what I would think of this book for the first few chapters. It's slow to start, but I'm not one to give up and once I was into this book I was really glad that I stuck with it.

Set in what seems like nowhere-ville America, these characters (and there are a lot of them!) are all connected by tragedy. Friends, families, and neighbors are all learning together what it's like to be bystanders and watch others suffer...and what it's like to suffer themselves as well.

If you en
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Way too many points of view. The book kept jumping from person to person and it was hard to get invested.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
In a 58-day period, from December 1951 to February 1952, there were three aviation disasters in the town of Elizabeth, New Jersey. Judy Blume, the author of this novel 'In the Unlikely Event', grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey and was a teenager at the time of the crashes. These airline crashes and how they affected her New Jersey community has stayed with her all of these years and inspired her to write this book.

Although the plane crashes described in the story are factual, the characters and
Like most children born in the 1970s and 1980s (and I hope, the 1990s), Judy Blume books made frequent and prolonged appearances in my household. My personal favorites were always the Fudge books. I was (and still am) a lover of scatological and body humor, so Fudge eating his brother Peter’s turtle always appealed to me on a base level. And of course, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was there to ease me into puberty and ask all the awkward questions.

I never got around to reading her adult
Diane Barnes
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: motley-crew
First, let me say that this is my first Judy Blume book, which is why I wanted to read it. When her famous and popular teen books were published, I was already in my late teens, and not part of her target audience. I've heard adults gush over how much her books meant to them when they were young, but never even read her adult fiction, "Wifey" and "Summer Sisters". So when she published this one after many years of silence, I decided to jump into Judy Blume's world.

Wise decision, Diane. At first,
I have been reading Judy Blume since I was a teenager, and love her adult fiction! This is the first book of hers to come out in awhile and I could not wait to read it! I was not disappointed. She writes a riveting tail based on true life events surrounding three tragic plane crashes in Elizabeth, NJ in the early 1950s. It is hard to remember at times that the story is fictional, based on the personality and depth that she gives to each of her characters. You can feel the heartache and fear from ...more
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Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We're Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fu ...more

Articles featuring this book

The giant of children's lit plumbs an unusual event from her own girlhood—when three planes crashed in her hometown—for her new novel for adults,...
32 likes · 17 comments
“Life is a series of unlikely events, isn’t it? Hers certainly is. One unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich, complicated whole. And who knows what’s still to come?” 20 likes
“Anything could go wrong any day of the week. What’s the point of worrying in advance?” 15 likes
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