Judy Blume's next novel, "In the Unlikely Event," is coming in June 2015 from Knopf. It's her first book for adults in 15 years.
Blume is best known to generations of readers for her funny kids books that dealt with serious adolescent problems: sibling rivalry in "Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing," bullying in "Blubber," blooming sexuality in "Deenie," and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret." But she also has written bestselling books for adults, including the racy "Wifey." Worldwide, her books have sold a total of more than 85 million copies.
Blume's new novel, "In the Unlikely Event," takes as its starting point a series of real-life airline crashes near Elizabeth, N.J., where Blume grew up, in 1951-52.
"These events have lingered in my mind ever since," Blume said in a release from publisher Knopf. "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."
The "alien invasion" may seem strange, but Orson Welles' sensational radio broadcast "War of the Worlds," which aired in 1938, had placed its fictional alien invasion in New Jersey. And in the 1950s, space aliens were all the rage.
Knopf further describes the novel: "With her rich imagination, Blume uses this background to weave together a story with an unforgettable ensemble of families and friends across three generations. The hallmark traits of Blume – a deep concern for her characters and the authentic capture of an era – are evident on every page as we see her protagonists grow up, fall in love, marry, cope with loss, deal with estranged parents and difficult friendships and familial obligations, remember the good times, and finally, wonder at the joy that keeps them going."
Blume's longtime editor Carole Baron added, "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. It is a remarkable narrative – gripping and moving – and not surprisingly, a book that will keep readers on the edge of their seats."