Reading/Interest Level: Young Adult
Author: Carrie Firestone
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
After her senior friends leave for college and as she prepares for one last year of high school, Sadie is expecting an uneventful summer. However, her summer turns into anything but when she steps in to rescue a baby in danger, and footage of her deed goes viral. She is invited to a “Homegrown Heroes” luncheon, where she meets four other honorees. They instantly connect and decide to spend their summer together, doing vigilante deeds of kindness to right local wrongs. When an old man mysteriously bequeaths her a small fortune of diamonds, Sadie decides to use them with her friends for acts of guerilla kindness to help people in need. This group of ‘unlikelies’ gets a little in over their heads when they try to help a heroin-addicted friend. The success of their online troll-slamming leads to the formation of many kindness groups and the capture and takedown of several drug dealers and trap houses. The addict friend receives the help she needs, and Sadie finds the courage to deal with her trauma with the help of her new friends and a budding romance.
The Unlikelies is a great summer read. The characters are vivacious and Firestone’s writing style is quick and witty. The main character’s narrative is engaging, and the little group of friends is endearing. The reader will be interested to see the group take on bullies, internet trolls, and even drug addicts. The book addresses some heavy topics, such as addiction, trauma, and violence. However, it still feels like a light read that will not weigh too heavy on the soul. The book does have a few weaknesses. Some situations and relationship dynamics seem a bit unrealistic and far-fetched. Additionally, the romance between Sadie and Gordie, one of the Unlikelies, feels rather bland and forced, and almost purely physical. Despite this, most of the other relationships in the book are strong and believable. Overall, this book has a very uplifting message. It is refreshing to find characters who are good kids just trying to make a positive impact on the world.
*Contains moderate language and mild sexual content