In The Unlikely Event

Hardcover | June 2, 2015

byJudy Blume

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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 her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life. Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen, and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place—Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.

In the Unlikely Event is vintage Judy Blume, with all the hallmarks of Judy Blume’s unparalleled storytelling, and full of memorable characters who cope with loss, remember the good times and, finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going.

Early reviewers have already weighed in: “Like many family stories, this one is not without its life-changing secrets and surprises. There is no surprise that the book is smoothly written, and its story compelling. The setting—the early 1950s—is especially well realized through period references and incidents.” —Booklist (starred review) and “In Blume’s latest adult novel . . . young and old alike must learn to come to terms with technological disaster and social change. Her novel is characteristically accessible, frequently charming and always deeply human.” —Publishers Weekly

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From the Publisher

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 even...

JUDY BLUME is one of America's most beloved authors. Her twenty-eight titles include Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret, Forever, and Summer Sisters. Together, her books have sold more than 85 million copies in 32 languages. She is a champion of intellectual freedom, working with the National Coalition Against Censorship to support t...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.64 × 6.64 × 1.44 inPublished:June 2, 2015Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385685076

ISBN - 13:9780385685078

Customer Reviews of In The Unlikely Event


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Liked it. I wasn't fond of "Summer Sisters" so I wasn't very excited when a girl in my bookclub chose this book. However, I really liked this book! I grew up on Judy Blame so it was nice to enjoy her work again.
Date published: 2015-09-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Judy Blume writes great books for teens ... ... and that's what this is. If you're feeling nostalgic for Judy Blume and how she made you feel when you read Are You There God, etc., then this book is for you. Unfortunately, this book did not translate well into the adult fiction it aspired to be. The story, writing, tone all felt juvenile. I kept hoping for a more mature perspective to add depth but it never happened. Not her best.
Date published: 2015-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nostalgic and Light This is the first Judy Blume book that I have read and I liked it. Its a light reading book that is interesting and nostalgic and just plain enjoyable. There are lots of characters in the tiny town of Elizabeth, but don't worry if you forget them as you go along because the main story hinges on Mira and her family. This book has everything relating to life from growing up through to maturity and everything in between. This author handles divorce and life and death and fear all in a very real way but with a lightness that is never to heavy which makes the book light reading. Her writing does remind me of Maeve Binchy. She also started every chapter with a newspaper article from the time period which also added a really neat touch to the book. I enjoyed this book, and would read this author again.
Date published: 2015-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great read A book you can't put down. Not at all what I was expecting; in fact it was better. I will read this again.
Date published: 2015-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard to put down! An excellent piece of writing that had me hooked from the first few pages. I don't have a lot of time for recreational reading so the book has to grab me early on. I loved the twists and the relationships. Who doesn't have a disappointing first love and a disfunctional friendship in their past.
Date published: 2015-07-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Unspeakably awful My first and last Judy Blume adult fiction. The Nancy Drew series I was reading at age 10 was more sophisticated. Would give negative stars if allowed.
Date published: 2015-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible book! I loved all of Judy Blume's books as a child, then teenager and now adult. This book really brought me back in time to my teenage years of best friends, first love and secrets. I was immersed in the 50's while reading this book. There are a lot of characters in this book and is confusing at first but eventually you become familiar with them. This book made me cry and laugh. I found Miri's Nana and Uncle Henry's love for her especially touching. I strongly recommend this book.
Date published: 2015-07-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In the unlikely event I have grown up reading judy blume. I loved the book, Judy never disappoints. Can't wait for the next book.
Date published: 2015-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read This was my second Judy Blume book and and it was a really good book, and it was really, really hard to put down.
Date published: 2015-07-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh and More Meh I was not a big fan of this book. It was chosen for our book club by a member who had read and loved Judy Blume when she was younger. I found the characters very one-dimensional and never really felt connected with or invested in any of them. The whole book felt kind of flat for me - which is something you wouldn't expect from a book about 3 horrific aviation disasters - especially when it is based on true events. A quick read and many will probably like but I found it to be disappointing overall.
Date published: 2015-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from As great as ever I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I loved Judy Blume books as an adolescent and young adult and was a tiny bit worried whether she would be able to "get me" as an adult 25 years later. She succeeded and then some. I cared about the haracters and needed to see where they would end up. I loved it!
Date published: 2015-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read! Oh, Judy Blume... I loved her books when I was a child and a teenager and later as an adult. This book was no exception. She managed to bring me back to the age of 15, first love, family secrets and best friends. The airplane crashes that take place in this book are horrific tragedies and Judy Blume brings that to life perfectly. She also brings to life the time that this book takes place in, for a few days, while reading this book, I lived in the 50's. There are a lot of characters in this book and at first, I had a hard time keeping them all straight. After a while, this ceased to bother me and I went with the flow. Miri, the best character in my mind, is a 15 yr old girl at the time of the plane crashes. So much is going on in her life, so much that she doesn't know about. All of the other characters in some way have some bearing on Mimi's life, whether she knows it or not. I really enjoyed this book and am so glad that I was able to read another Judy Blume book.
Date published: 2015-06-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Deeply affecting story . . . A reader's enjoyment of a novel is often enhanced when the reader is familiar with the setting, so when I read that Judy Blume's latest adult novel, "In the Unlikely Event", was set in a small town in suburban New Jersey, where Blume and I both grew up, I was particularly intrigued, and as I read the novel I recalled many familiar places mentioned in the book. The novel is set in the winter of 1951-1952. During a three month period that winter, three commercial airliners actually crashed in Elizabeth, NJ with significant loss of life. "In the Unlikely Event" relates how the protagonist, fictional fifteen year old Miri Ammerman (Blume was the same age at the time) and her community are affected by these crashes. I am a decade younger than Blume and do not recall these crashes personally. Interestingly, however, I have a recollection of my late maternal grandmother telling me a story about how a close friend of hers lost her daughter and son-in-law in a plane crash; they were flying from Newark Airport to Florida for their honeymoon when the crash occurred. One of the three planes which crashed in Elizabeth was enroute to Florida, and I did some research into that crash and discovered that two young couples were passengers on that plane. Sadly both my mother and grandmother are deceased so I am unable to confirm my recollection. "In the Unlikely Event" is a fast paced read centred around a solid story. Even if you are not familiar with suburban New Jersey, I think you will enjoy it!
Date published: 2015-06-28

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Miri Miri was not happy when Rusty showed up at the Osners' party. And even less happy to see she was wearing her good black dress, her dress shoes and stockings with seams. Then there was the hair. Rita Hayworth hair. To her shoulders. Heads turned when Rusty came into the living room. She waved at Miri but Miri turned away. "What is my mother doing here?" she asked Natalie. "My mother wants to introduce her to Cousin Tewky from Birmingham." "Tewky? What kind of a name is Tewky?" "Some family nickname. He's my mother's first cousin, from the banking side of the family. You know, Purvis Brothers Bank." Miri didn't know. "My mother's from the department store side." Miri didn't know that, either. "You should have warned me," she told Natalie. "How was I supposed to know your mother didn't tell you she was coming?" Corinne greeted Rusty and led her straight to a man, a man who must have been Tewky Purvis, balding, not especially handsome, but not ugly, either, with a mustache. Well, half the men in the room had mustaches, including Dr. O. She couldn't hold that against him. They were talking now, her mother and Tewky Purvis, and laughing, maybe even flirting. Miri didn't like it. She didn't know how grown-ups judged each other, especially how women judged men. It never made sense to her. It's about character, Rusty once told her. Strength, goodness. A sense of humor doesn't hurt, either. She didn't ask how men judged women because she already knew. It was obvious, and Rusty looked glamorous tonight. "That's not all of it," Rusty had once argued. "But you're right--looks are certainly a starting point. Chemistry, too." Miri understood chemistry now. Chemistry turned your legs to jelly and made your insides roll over. If Mason hadn't had to work tonight Miri might not be at the Osners' party. She hoped she'd never have to choose between her best friend and the boy she loved. Since seventh grade, New Year's Eve had been for just the two of them, Natalie and Miri. She didn't think Natalie would have invited Mason. Maybe someday when Natalie was also in love, they'd invite dates to the Osners' party, but not now. Rusty must have thought that Miri would be out with Mason when she accepted Corinne's invitation. Now she'd have to deal with her daughter keeping an eye on her. Rusty She decided to go to the party at the last minute when Irene urged her to get out and enjoy herself. Seeing the worry on Miri's face now, she began to regret her decision. Maybe it had been a mistake to keep the men in her life a secret. Not that there had been many. But she'd never brought a date home. Not one man in fifteen years. She hadn't done a thing to get Miri used to the idea, to the possibility. In all these years, there had been just two serious boyfriends. One of them had been married. She certainly wasn't going to introduce him to her family. She knew from the start he would never leave his wife and children. She knew she wasn't his first affair. Yet she kept seeing him. For five years she saw him every week. If you asked her about him today she wouldn't be able to explain it. Just that she'd been young and she'd enjoyed the attention, the thrill, the sex. The second man was decent and available. He'd proposed after a few months, with a diamond as big as her thumbnail. For a minute she thought she could learn to love him, could be happy with his promise of a big house in the suburbs, a maid to clean and cook, summer camp for Miri. But when it came time to introduce him to the family she couldn't do it. They would see right through her. They would see the truth--she didn't love him, wasn't the least attracted to him and didn't want to marry him, not even for an easier life. Sometimes she wondered about her first love, but not often. A girl gets in trouble, she marries the boy. They wind up hating each other, resenting each other and finally they get a divorce. By then it's taken its toll on both of them and their children. No, she never wanted that, which is why she'd refused to allow her mother to call the Monskys and force Mike to marry her. Maybe she would fall in love again. If and when that happened she would introduce him to Miri. But until then, what was the point?

Editorial Reviews

National BestsellerA New York Times BestsellerA Guardian Best Book of the Year A St. Louis Dispatch Best Book of 2015 Nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction "[Judy Blume] knows best; each of these stories needed to be told. The beauty of In the Unlikely Event lies in the way it shows how communities are affected by tragedy and fear not just as a whole, but also as individuals." ―The Globe and Mail "More than 40 years later, Blume can still channel her inner adolescent, writing a compelling coming-of-age novel with a skill that draws her readers into Miri's world with authenticity and deftness. . . . It's a perfect cottage and beach read for the summer of 2015." ―Toronto Star"Ambitious. . . . A richly imagined world of early 1950s Americana. . . . In The Unlikely Event serves, thematically, as a kind of greatest hits from Judy Blume's oeuvre. Woven into the story are narratives of first loves and lost virginities, reminiscent of Forever, [and] marriages plagued by boredom in the vein of 1978's Wifey." ―National Post "Wry, witty and thrillingly candid, [Judy Blume] has been chronicling the agonies and ecstasies of adolescence for the past 45 years . . . Blume hasn't lost her knack for note-perfect portraits of young people on the cusp of adulthood [in new novel, In the Unlikely Event]." ―Chatelaine"Blume has threaded these lives together in an essential way and given every one of them importance. . . . Devastating secrets are uncovered, moving love stories play out or fade to black. Blume, whose fiction for adults has the same emotional immediacy as her books for children, makes us feel the pure shock and wonder of living, the ways we get through catastrophe—and the ways we fail. But our connections might save us." ―The New York Times Book Review"Blume's hallmark warmth and humanity shine through . . . and there is a loveliness to this novel in its depths of philanthropy and human understanding. It leaves the reader longing to meet the author for a soul-lifting heart-to-heart. The fairy godmother is alive and well." ―The Guardian (UK) "The same Judy Blume is still here, opening our eyes to the daily astonishments of life all these years later." ―USA Today  "Reading In the Unlikely Event in adulthood is like reconnecting with a long-lost friend. Judy is still Judy. . . . [this book is] a dramatic story about daily life told in a funny, orderly, honest style. . . . For a young person, [Blume's] style is irresistible and comforting. It is for an adult, too. In the Unlikely Event is an ambitious book . . . emotionally resonant and down-to-earth at once." ―The New Yorker "Blume is back―and with an extremely unusual and utterly brilliant novel. Never mind what she has done before: it feels as if this is the book she has been waiting her whole life to write. And it is, quite simply, extraordinary." ―The Observer (UK)"In the Unlikely Event offers readers the classic Blume experience―a nuanced portrayal of the everyday intricacies of love and friendship―but set against a backdrop of extraordinary tragedy. . . . Despite the horror of much of its subject matter, In the Unlikely Event is comfort reading at its most soothing, the turn of its pages like sitting down with a beloved, long-lost friend." ―The Independent (UK)"A beloved author returns. . . . The 15-year-old protagonist, Miri Ammerman, is a classic Blume invention. . . . this book will be welcomed by any Blume fan who can handle three real tragedies and a few four-letter words." ―Kirkus Reviews"[In the Unlikely Event] is characteristically accessible, frequently charming, and always deeply human." ―Publishers Weekly"There is no surprise that the book is smoothly written, and its story compelling. . . . A new Blume novel will always be big news." —Booklist, starred review