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Editorial Reviews

Editors Select, June 2015 - What could be better than a Judy Bloom book to kick-off the summer? In the Unlikely Event is accessible historical fiction for adults. At its center is a real-life event that occurred in Blume's hometown of Elizabeth NJ in the early 1950's, when not one, but three planes fell from the sky over a three-month period. This is the common thread that ties together a large cast of characters whose stories span generations – each helping to paint a picture of a distinct time and place and of the long-term effect this shared experience has on an entire community. Personal, informative, and heart-warming all at once – In the Unlikely Event is exactly what I hoped from the renowned Judy Bloom! —Tricia, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

The new adult novel from the beloved and best-selling author Judy Blume.

When a series of passenger airplanes crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, within a three-month period in 1951-1952, Judy Blume was a teenager. "These events have lingered in my mind ever since," says Blume. "It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers. Was it sabotage? An alien invasion? No one knew, and people were understandably terrified." Against this background, Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. But life goes on, and Blume digs deep into her characters - we see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familial obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent's love, a widower's hope, and everything in between.... Most important, In the Unlikely Event is filled with the same warmth and authenticity that have won Blume the hearts and minds of listeners of all generations.

©2015 Judy Blume (P)2015 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Characteristically accessible, frequently charming, and always deeply human." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Narrator Kathleen McInerney creates a vibrant audio version of the interlocked lives, families, and generations in Judy Blume's arresting, sometimes harrowing, new novel.... McInerney's vocal technique is marvelously flexible..." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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New meaning to term:"HOPE FOR BEST,PLAN FOR WORST"

Would you consider the audio edition of In the Unlikely Event to be better than the print version?

NO. THIS WAS ONE BOOK THAT I APPRECIATED MORE IN THE WRITTEN VERSION. I PAYED MUCH CLOSER ATTENTION WHEN READING, AND AFTER COMPLETING I'M SO GLAD I DIDN'T MISS ANYTHING FROM THIS AMAZING (PART BIO, PART FICTION) TRAIL BLAZER OF A BOOK.! TREMENDOUS PLOT, AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING!

What other book might you compare In the Unlikely Event to and why?

A BOOK THAT COMES IMMEDIATELY TO MIND AS A GREAT EXAMPLE IN WHICH STRONG COMPARISONS CAN EASILY BE MADE TO: "IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT" IS PHILIP ROTH'S: "NEMESIS". IT IS A NOVEL ABOUT THE POLIO EPIDEMIC OUTBREAK, & THE LIMITATIONS CAUSED BY THE FACT THAT NO ONE KNEW WHAT TO DO, (OR IF ANYTHING COULD BE DONE) TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND CHILDREN FROM CONTRACTING THIS KILLER. JEWS BLAMING CATHOLICS AND VICE VERSA. HENCE, THE FINGER POINTING THREAD BETWEEN BOTH NOVELS. PEOPLE DESPERATELY NEEDED/WANTED TO KNOW WHY THIS WAS HAPPENING AND WANT ANSWERS YESTERDAY!!!SAME GOES FOR:"IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT" NO ONE KNEW HOW TO STOP, NOR WHAT WAS CAUSING THE PLAN CRASHES, POINTING FINGERS WAS COMMONPLACE, AS PEOPLE NEEDED TO UNDERSTAND "WHY' IT WAS HAPPENING, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY IT WAS HAPPENING TO THEIR FAMILIES, FRIENDS, ETCETERA... HUMAN NATURE AT ITS BEST

Which character – as performed by Kathleen McInerney – was your favorite?

THE PROTAGONIST LITTLE GIRL, WHO LIVES WITH MOM AND GRAND MOM WAS MY FAV. CHARACTER. SHE IS THE ONE CHARACTER I GOT A SENSE OF REALL AUTHENTICITY

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

"ONCE BURNED, TWICE SHY' CHOSE THIS BECAUSE IT IS A FAMOUS MANTRA. THE CHARACTERS WOULD HAVE BENEFITED FROM IT'S STRENGTH IN THEY WERE AWARE OF/APPLY TO THEIR DAILY LIVES.

Any additional comments?

FAVORITE JUDY BLUME BOOK EVER! THIS BOOK IS NOT A PRE-TEEN, TEEN OR RACY ADULT BOOK EASY FOR CHILDREN TO UNDERSTAND, YET WRITTEN FOR ADULTS ENJOY AND HOPE OTHERS ENJOY(ED) AS MUCH AS I.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Teen Writing & Narration

I am new to Judy Blume's writing and took a chance with this book. I know she usually writes for a child and/or teen audience. All of the 5 star positive reviews here made me decide to give this "adult" entry a try. That was a mistake. After listening for several hours I found that I could not go on. The book was adolescent and totally geared towards teen listeners. I found the narration childish, cloyingly sweet, sing song and grating. Can't recommend unless you are a fan of teen books and narration.

40 of 50 people found this review helpful

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Happy for another Blume Y/A book.

In the Unlikely Event is Judy Blume’s highly anticipated new novel, and only one of four aimed at an older audience in Blume’s career. In the vein of Summer Sisters, this novel is told through the many eyes of a town. In the Unlikely Event takes place in the 1950s in Elizabeth New Jersey where three planes fell from the sky in less than sixty days. Pulling from the backdrop of her own experience living through these actual events, at 77 years old, Blume depicts a time when Elizabeth Taylor haircuts and A-bomb hysteria were very real.

I know that a lot of people found tracking the various characters difficult, the biggest complaint about this book, however I didn’t find it to be anything new. One of my favorite books is Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters and it was written in a similar fashion. I found it refreshing and ultimately unique story telling device that enriched the narrative.

While the crashes are at the center of the story manipulating the lives of each character, this narrative is really a coming of age story. The reader experiences these events from three generations of families, friends, and strangers.

Blume successfully honors the real victims of these tragic events by bringing to life the facts surrounding the plane crashes in New Jersey. In the Unlikely Event is an enchanting story of life’s ordinary and extraordinary events.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Judy Blume a favorite since childhood

I've been reading Judy Blume since I was 12 and have loved every one, this book is no exception, still loving her!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Loved it!

I am so impressed with the narrator. Amazing job! Great story. I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Touching

So nostalgic of the 1950's. it was like a time warp to the past.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great coming of age novel

Judy Blume still delivers a heart warming story with interesting characters full of life lessons.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tobi
  • Sandy, UT, United States
  • 10-30-15

Based on true events

I didn't know that this story was not only based on real events but the author actually was a young girl living in Elizabeth at the time. What an incredible tragedy to happen to one town. I was completely caught up in the events and emotions of the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Classic Judy Blume

I have always enjoyed Judy Blume since first reading Are You There God... She makes her characters so real, so relateable. This book was no different. I felt every pang of hurt, every fear, every passion(that was a bit different;) I STILL love her writing, even now as a "big girl" ! This was a great listen!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Judy Blume you don't disappoint

Would you listen to In the Unlikely Event again? Why?

Yes and read it again. I love Judy Blume

What other book might you compare In the Unlikely Event to and why?

It is similar to Judy Blumes other adult novels, but the central events of the 3 plane crashes is a different element

Which scene was your favorite?

Certainly the end also the description of the 3 crashes

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

In the unlikely event----your life will be changed and shaped by these unlikely events

Any additional comments?

I loved the book I did not love the narrator. She sounded just too young, while many of the characters are teens, the voice lacked gravitas.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful