REVIEW: The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech
Title: The Great Unexpected
Author: Sharon Creech
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-0061892325
Received:  Publisher Supplied  ARC (ebook)


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. I felt I was turning a corner and that change was afoot.

In the little town of Blackbird Tree live two orphan girls: one Naomi Deane, brimming with curiosity, and her best friend, Lizzie Scatterding, who could talk the ears off a cornfield. Naomi has a knack for being around when trouble happens. For she knows all the peculiar people in town—like Crazy Cora and Witch Wiggins and Mr. Farley. But then, one day, a boy drops out of a tree. The strangely charming Finn boy. Then the Dingle Dangle man appears, asking all kinds of questions. Curious surprises are revealed—three locked trunks, a pair of rooks, a crooked bridge, and that boy. Soon Naomi and Lizzie find themselves zooming toward a future neither could ever have imagined. Meanwhile, on a grand estate across the ocean, an old lady whose heart has been deceived concocts a plan. . . .

As two very different worlds are woven together, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech celebrates the gossamer thread that connects us all, and the great and unexpected gifts of love, friendship, and forgiveness.


Let me tell you a little bit about Sharon Creech. She is awesome. I first discovered her when I attended Florida Gulf Coast University  when I was studying to be an elementary school teacher (K-6).  One of my favorite classes was on children’s literature and one of the projects was, through out the semester, to read a series of books from infant board books to high school classics.

the-great-unexpected-coverSharon Creech was one of the recommended. I remember my professor held up Love That Dog and when she passed it around, I read the entire book in a sitting while in class. I then went on to read quite a few of her other novels and just adored how well written they were and what wonderful readalouds they would be for children of all ages.

When I discovered that Sharon Creech was (after many years to my knowledge) coming out with a new children’s novel, I had to read it. Had to.

The Great Unexpected was a peculiar novel and had me scratching my head, even at the end. We are introduced to an extremely likable orphan, Naomi. Naomi and her best friend (and chatterbox) Lizzie are playing when a boy stumbles out of a tree and appears to be dead. At least, that is what Naomi and Lizzie think. When he awakens and scampers away while not saying much about himself or why he fell out of a tree, Naomi embarks on an interesting summer trying to find out the mystery behind Finn Boy.

Meanwhile something is going on across the ocean in Europe. An older woman and her caregiver have many discussions on murder, sounding undoubtedly sociopathic. What is this about?

The Great Unexpected was peculiar, like I said, and very different from Sharon Creech’s other novels before hand. What stands The Great Unexpected above other novels of its age level is the incredible story telling abilities of Creech. The characters are multidimensional, especially Lizzie who I felt to be incredibly hilarious. She reminded me of a mixture of Anne Shirley and Scarlett O’Hara. She has Anne’s imagination and inability to be silent with Scarlett’s dialect and flair for drama. Definitely one of my favorite characters in the novel.

Creech manages to take two stories and a handful of seemingly very different characters and manages to intertwine them into a delightful read-aloud mystery that kids everywhere would enjoy. I believe The Great Unexpected would be perfect for parents to read with their child before bed (fun voices mandatory). Students in grades 2-5 would also love to sit quietly and listen to their teachers read this novel out loud to them in class. Sure to encourage discussion with its twist and turns, The Great Unexpected would be a great addition to your child’s or school library.

Recommendation: Purchase


Grace May 6, 2020 at 6:13 pm

Sharon is incredibly awesome, 100% with you regarding that,

Emma May 9, 2020 at 10:08 pm

What a nice synopsis. So much of atmospehere in it.

Alyson May 11, 2020 at 5:19 pm

I want more books like this one. A book that is beautifully written, has quirky characters, humor, mystery/adventure, makes you care what happens, and even has sad parts. Sharon Creech has done it again. If the Newbery committee overlooks this book I might cry. Can’t wait to share this book with kids this fall.

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