December 17, 2014
The return of Judy Blume
by Nick Davies
For the first time in more fifteen years, Judy Blume has written a novel for adults, Tara Fowler writes in an exclusive for People. The prolific author of classics such as Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Deenie, and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing will release her latest book in the summer of 2015.
Being published by Knopf, Blume’s new book is titled In the Unlikely Event, and it takes some cues from the author’s own childhood. Specifically, it’s set in Elizabeth, NJ in 1951 and 1952, when an unusual number of plane crashes occurred in the area—even leading to Newark Airport shutting down for almost a year after the third crash in two months happened in February 1952.
Blume, who grew up nearby and lived through the events, says in a statement on Knopf’s page for the book: “These events have lingered in my mind ever since. It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers. Was it sabotage? An alien invasion? No one knew, and people were understandably terrified.”
Further details on the novel are still fairly minimal; Fowler writes that it centers on an ensemble cast of a family and their friends over the course of three generations. The Knopf page reads:
Blume uses her imagination to bring us the lives of three generations of families, friends, and strangers, who will be profoundly affected by these events, either directly or indirectly. But life goes on and Blume digs deep into her characters—we see them coping not only with grief but with first love, estranged parents, difficult friendships, familial obligations, divorce, career ambitions, a grandparent’s love, a widower’s hope, and everything in between.
Carole Baron, Blume’s longtime editor, says that “Judy has been hinting at writing this book for many years. And I think she finally got to a point in her life when she couldn’t hold on to the story any longer.” In the Unlikely Event is scheduled to publish on June 2, 2015.
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.