The Unlikelies

Sadie Sullivan begins the summer before senior year with low expectations. All her friends have graduated and gone off to camp jobs and vacations, leaving her behind with the "gadflies," her name for girls who "hung around like insects, buzzing in tightly drawn circles, gossiping and side whispering and basically being petty, drama-slinging troublemakers." Her plans are to work at a farmstand near her Long Island, N.Y., home and mope. But on her second day, she saves a baby from a drunk and unhinged man, getting badly beaten in the process. A bystander captures the incident on a phone, and the rest is viral YouTube history. At a Homegrown Hero luncheon Sadie meets four other "heroes." The five instantly develop an easy friendship, in spite of socioeconomic, ethnic and cultural differences, and soon are planning ways to right some wrongs in their community and beyond. They start by posting positive messages on a blog set up by an unpopular boy, countering the cruel ones that online trolls have left. An unexpected windfall for Sadie, bequeathed by an elderly man who witnessed the farmstand attack, ups the ante for the five, who call themselves The Unlikelies. But can money and positive messages really solve all the problems of troubled people?

Carrie Firestone (The Loose Ends List) weaves together humanitarianism, friendship, love, heartbreak and good old-fashioned summertime fun in her exquisite novel. The Unlikelies are sweet, sharp-witted and authentic, and their do-good instincts are never mawkish or saccharine, whether they're addressing body shamers or drug addicts. Odds that this will be a YA favorite? Likely. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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