Reviewed by Maria Angelica Geraldine Galicinao
THE UNLIKELIES By Carrie Firestone 336 pp. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Adolescence—the age of no worries, the age of the raging hormones, the age of awkward growth of various body parts, the age of strange emotions, the age of… worrying about your score in the popularity meter. Your teenage years are supposed to be the years that you find an identity for yourself when it’s so easy to lose yourself in all the different situations this period of your life presents to you. Is there room for moral responsibility or the passion to help other people when you’ve got all these problems bugging you (on top of school, at that!)? Who thinks about anything more than themselves or the boy they’re pining for at this age? The Unlikelies gives you that answer in the form of five teenagers.
As a twenty four-year old woman, I didn’t know what to expect upon being handed the copy of this book initially. It’s a YA book! I haven’t held one in my hands for nearly a decade! Nevertheless, I took on the challenge and was pleasantly surprised with what I found: a lot of interesting things about it that if I seem all over the place with my review, I apologize. It’s not your typical YA book that limits itself into delving into the life (mostly love life) of its protagonist/s. It paints a detailed picture of how different teenagers deal with different problems—from simple ones to very complex issues such as dealing with substance abuse—and how each of them learns a thing or two about themselves and the people around them in the process. One thing I really like about this book is how it focuses on the values its protagonists exhibit and how they act based on these set of values, rather than their lives. It actually taught me that it doesn’t matter what I have or who I am, whoever I am and whatever I have is enough to help other people live better lives—all you have to have is that burning desire to do so. It takes just one small step of kindness, that act of doing the right thing, fighting for what is just and what is good to make a positive effect on the world around you. Kindness, I learned while reading this book, shouldn’t be returned; it should be passed along.
Of course, the picture of a crazy teenage life isn’t lost in the process of highlighting heroism. There are still the common teenage anxieties: the fluttering heartbeats on first dates and first kisses, the pressure to be popular and accepted by peers, friendship issues, pursuing what you think you’re good at and stressing over getting into a good college… it’s very interesting how all of these situations have been woven together, and phrased to create a book that will give you either nostalgia and wishing you had better teenage years (if you’re a bit on the old side just like me) or a yearning for a more exciting adolescent phase (because this book has interesting twists). No matter what life stage you are in, I assure you, this book will make you ask, “What can I do to help someone else today?” several times. I hope that after reading this book, you’ll get to the same realizations that I’ve arrived at, and more. Enjoy the unlikely read of The Unlikelies!
Angelica is legally obligated to administer regulated drugs and touch various body parts (which is just an unconventional way of saying that she is a nurse). She considers herself an overly caffeinated bibliophile.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]