Book Review: The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech

View from the window seat:
Naomi and Lizzie are two orphan girls living in Blackbird Tree, USA. The Great Unexpected alternates between their town and Ireland, where the mysterious Mrs. Kavanagh sets her plans in motion. As events unfold, mysteries are unraveled, revealing unexpected connections and unexpected gifts.

Sharon Creech was one of my favorite authors growing up. She is particularly skilled at portraying real characters facing love, loss, and everything in between. I loved spirited Naomi, our narrator, and her overly talkative, sweet best friend Lizzie. I loved the citizens of Blackbird Tree, with all their oddities and complexities.

Sharon Creech does a lovely job of bringing together the two tales of Blackbird Tree and Ireland, highlighting the similarities between two pairs of girls while revealing that everyone is connected. Magical realism runs through the story as well in a brilliantly subtle way that leaves the reader guessing at the end.

If you haven’t read any Sharon Creech before, I recommend Walk Two Moons, Chasing Redbird, Bloomability and The Wanderer. All are wonderful. Though if you can only pick one, pick Walk Two Moons. It’s one of those you-have-to-read-this-at-least-once-in-your-life books.

Overall impression:
This story is about the unexpected: the connections we never knew we had, the kindness we didn’t realize, and the forgiveness we didn’t know was possible. The Great Unexpected is another beautiful story from a great author.

Rating:
8

Note: I received this ARC from the publisher at the 2012 ALA Annual Conference.

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