In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Miri Ammerman, 14, is having a normal winter with her unusual but loving family in Elizabeth, New Jersey, when life changes abruptly. Planes start crashing, and everyone in town seems affected. A dentist reevaluates his life, Miri’s friend Natalie thinks she hears the voice of a victim, and Natalie’s brother mourns for what could have been. Theories of sabotage or aliens are all over school, but Miri isn’t allowed to write about the accidents for the school paper. Miri meets her father for the first time, and her uncle Henry’s reporting of the crashes leads to job offers. There are parties, sleepovers, first boyfriends, an engagement, a divorce, a late-in-life romance, and travel to Florida and Las Vegas. The author was a young teen living in Elizabeth when the airplanes crashed, and spent five years writing this story. The early 1950s really come to life in this compelling story that’s hard to put down and feels much shorter than its 402 pages.