The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone (review)
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Reviewed by
Firestone, Carrie The Unlikelies. Little, 2017[304p]
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-316-38286-1 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-316-38285-4 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 8–12

Summer after junior year starts for Sadie with an act of heroism: she grabs the keys of a dangerously drunken guy who’s trying to drive off with a baby in the car and refuses, even under savage assault, to give them back. After a lunch honoring her and four other teen “homegrown heroes,” the quintet bonds, and they start thinking of ways to do good, starting with fighting back against bullying in online slam books by posting positive comments under the name of “the Unlikelies.” Sadie also involves them on her own mission of virtue—an elderly acquaintance, moved by her action, willed her a cache of valuable yellow diamonds, instructing her to use them to make the world better, but giving her no instructions on how to do that. It’s an appealing premise, and the book makes the pushback against meanness entertainingly adventurous and clandestine, as the group secretly delivers care packages to the victimized and attends glamorous parties through the summer night. However, there are just too many plot layers, ranging from the heroin addiction of one Unlikely’s best friend to Sadie’s grappling with the physical and mental aftermath of the assault to her romance with rich boy Gordie; the Unlikelies’ success at crime-fighting and sudden viral popularity are also very, well, unlikely. There’s still reward in the story of good kids getting traction against darker everyday impulses, though, so readers who enjoyed Hurwitz’s The Summer I Saved the World. . . in 65 Days (BCCB 5/14) when they were younger may appreciate the updated take on good deeds here.

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