The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
When the boy falls out of the tree right at Naomi’s feet, she thinks it’s a dead body. But instead it’s Finn, a boy who seems to have come from nowhere and be tied to no one. Naomi too could seem adrift as an orphan, but after her father died a neighbor couple took her in and gave her a home. Her best friend Lizzie is also an orphan and hoping to be adopted by her foster family. Their story entwines with that of a wealthy woman in Ireland whose background is slowly exposed and the connections tightened. This is a journey of a book, one that offers great eccentric characters, a town that has many secrets, and the amazement of unexpected ties to one another.
A new book by Creech is always something I look forward to and this is one of her best. The intricate ties and reveals in the book make it a spectacular read and a book that unwinds like a curving road before you. The writing is solid and lovely. Creech takes the time to make each character special, even when just glimpsed for a single scene. There is always something tantalizing about them and you know there are further depths there.
Creech’s novel is all about hope and connections in life. It is a book that uplifts and brings joy. There is also some darkness here, death and life next to each other, survival and loss. It is not an easy world that is portrayed here and things are not simple. But there is beauty and hope and transcendence.
Highly recommended, this is a book that will delight Creech fans and create new ones. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Reviewed from copy received from HarperCollins.