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The Great Unexpected Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
While best for ages 8 to 12 (and the younger readers may not make all the marvelous connections at first), this is one of those rare books that readers of all ages will treasure, not only for its engaging story, but its enduring message of hope.
I read this book in one sitting, and it was a complete delight. I say this as a 21-year-old college senior unaccustomed to reading Middle Grade. It releases September 4, 2012.
The twelve-year-old, neurotic Naomi has a violent past and a childlike perspective, but a refreshingly sophisticated voice. Her sarcasm and levelheadedness contrast her friend Lizzie Scatterdinghead's innocent, tactful chatterboxing in one of the best foils I've ever witnessed.
When a little Irishman falls out of a tree and knocks her over, he becomes her first crush. Duh dun SHHH.
As the opening chapters suggest - Naomi and Lizzie refer to Finn as "a body" and as "it" - he's mysterious enough to make you wonder, for some time, whether he's paranormal. Meanwhile, a couple of women casually plot "murders" across the ocean, and many dots link Naomi's and Lizzie's little country town of Blackbird Tree, and the dots demand explanation.
What I learned about storytelling: I've got a countdown this time.
3. Interactive character description is incredibly vivid. When the book comes out, I will be copying a passage about Joe from chapter 7.
2. I remember this trick from Walk Two Moons. Creech adds some distance to the love stories woven into these middle grade books, maybe to tone down the romance for younger kids, maybe to add poignance and mystery, maybe both. The most intimate scene in the book is told in two parts, with a brief intermission, in past perfect tense.
1. There's a saying about writing: "Don't leave the gun on the mantle." If a character puts a gun above the fireplace, that gun better fire before the story's over.Read more ›
Naomi Deane and Lizzie Scatterding are two best friends in the small town of Blackbird Tree. Both are wounded orphans living daily with their fears. Naomi is an old soul, wise beyond her years and terrified of dogs. A vicious attack by one as a child left her maimed and took the life of her father. Lizzie is a scattered chatterbox with the inability to lie and the fear of being homeless. Her one hope is that her foster parents will adopt her and give her a sense of permanency.
The tale begins when a mysterious boy named Finn drops out of a tree, literally at the feet of Naomi. His presence in their lives has an effect on their friendship in the same manner that another boy named Finn in another lifetime came between Naomi's guardian Nula and her sister.
Across the pond in Ireland Mrs. Kavanaugh plots at her estate of Rook Orchard to set a plan in motion that will right past wrongs. She sends the mysterious solicitor Mr. Dinkle to the town of Blackbird Tree and the lives of Naomi and Lizzie are changed forever.
As Naomi muses.... "I had big thoughts to match the big wind. I wondered if we find the people we need when we need them. I wondered if we attract our future by some sort of invisible force, or if we are drawn to it by a similar force.Read more ›
Also,, the pacing is flawless. The story is a mystery that floats back and forth between characters in America and characters in Ireland. The mystery unfolds gradually throughout the story which keeps the reader engaged and entertained (thus the perfect pacing). Each chapter either adds plot elements or reveals important elements.
The story really revolves around three sets of sisters. All three sets have argued over a boy (Finn). The result of this competition over a boy is what drives the mystery. There are also several smaller mysteries (the ravens, the strangers in town, the four old people) that interconnect throughout the story. The lines connect and unravel as the various stories are solved.
The end of the story is very satisfying. The resolution of the mystery speaks to the interconnectedness of life (the butlers brother is the grumpy older "unfortunate" one armed man in town who once received a letter from Naomi which he treasured for always). All the characters share strange unlooked for connections. This adds a warmth that is not immediately apparent but blossoms between all the characters. The world at the beginning of the story is a cold, rather unfeeling place for the characters. By the end, we discover a community and a home for all of them.
Now for the characters - Naomi is the heart and the main line of the story. We follow her through to the conclusion of all the mysteries.The story and the other characters reactions are perceived through her viewpoint.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was addicted to it. That book is a little sad but then it turns in too the best book ever!Published 2 days ago by panda lover
I enjoyed WALK TWO MOONS, so when I was at the library in need of a book, I thought this would be a good choice. Unfortunately, it doesn’t compare. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dienne
Sharon Creech made this book intresting again by her creativity and I love how she connects two complete unknown worlds are woven into one big word!Published 6 months ago by Peng
“If you have never had a body fall out of a tree and knock you over, let me tell you what a surprising thing it is. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Amanda Hogue-Lavallee
Sharon Creech is wonderful. I'll start with that. But this book ... really, it was all smoke and mirrors. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Will in Seattle