Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech

Naomi and Lizzie, two orphan girls living in Blackbird Tree, are minding their own business when a boy falls out of a tree at their feet.  Once Finn shows up, things become very strange.  The mysterious Dingle Dangle man comes to town for an unknown purpose, and things begin changing, fast, and Naomi isn't sure if it's for the better.  She begins to see the strange connections between people, even people far across the sea in Ireland.

I love Sharon Creech.  I grew up reading Walk Two Moons and Chasing Redbird.  I was beside myself when I met her at ALA.  But I did not love this.  It was very...disjointed.  It was disjointed on purpose, I know, but it didn't work for me.  Things kind of came together in the end, but not as much as I would have liked.

Naomi falls quickly for Finn.  Lizzie doesn't seem to have much romantic interest in him, but that doesn't stop Naomi from feeling jealous.  One of Naomi's guardians, Nula, tells her the story of a boy named Finn who broke her heart back in Ireland and caused and rift between her and her sister, who she hasn't seen or spoken to in years.

The chapters go back and forth between Naomi, pinning for Finn, fearing dogs, and visiting unfortunate souls with Lizzie, and Mrs. Kavanagh, who has planned some kind of revenge in Blackbird Tree.  It is not clear what, but it seems to involve a murder.

Naomi, Lizzie and Nula eventually travel to Ireland and many surprising connections are made.  Everyone is linked in some kind of way.  It was all very...airy and flighty and deep thinking and pondery.  Was Finn real?  Was he really there?  I have no idea.  I was confused about that in the end.

I think it will appeal to some girls, but it's not nearly as relatable as many of her other books.  Most of Sharon Creech's books I could recommend to any kid.  This book would take a certain kind of kid.

The Great Unexpected comes out September 4, 2012.

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