Even if it weren’t an interesting tale about two orphan girls, a boy who appears out of nowhere and a mysterious revenge plot happening across the ocean in Ireland, The Great Unexpected would draw readers in with its clever prose and fluent storytelling. Award-winning author Sharon Creech (Walk Two Moons, The Wanderer) comes through once again with a compelling, entertaining read that is at once mysterious and familiar.

Preteen Naomi tells the story from her side of the Atlantic, introducing us to her best friend Lizzie and explaining how they both became foster children. Their small-town lives are fairly predictable, and summers are usually lazy and sweet. So it is no surprise that Naomi is nonplussed by the arrival of the strange boy Finn, whose entrance by falling from a tree is only the first of many “unexpected” things to happen. Naomi is not sure that the series of unexpected events are always that “great,” but Lizzie is certain that their world can only be improved by it all.

Creech does a wonderful job of weaving two threads of the story together in such a way that the ending is not wholly unexpected for the reader, but extremely surprising for Naomi and Lizzie. If The Great Unexpected is your first Sharon Creech book, then you are in for a treat, because you have many other treasures to uncover.

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