The Unlikelies – Carrie Firestone

It’s official: Carrie Firestone is incredibly talented and one of my new favourites. The Unlikelies are such a motley crew that accomplish great things — sometimes without truly meaning it or understanding the implication.


One good deed will change everything.

Sadie is not excited for the summer before her senior year. It will be her first without her college-bound best friend and (now ex-)boyfriend by her side, so Sadie braces herself for a long, lonely, and boring season working at a farm stand in the Hamptons. But things take an unexpected turn when Sadie steps in to help rescue a baby in peril and footage of her impromptu good deed goes viral.

As she’s recovering from “the incident” and adjusting to her Internet fame, Sadie receives an invitation to a lunch honoring teem homegrown heroes. The five honorees instantly connect and soon decide to spend their time together righting local wrongs. Sadie and her new friends embark on escalating acts of vigilante Good Samaritanism, but might be in over her heads when they try to help a heroin-addicted friend. Are good intentions enough to hold unlikely friendships—and an even unlikelier new romance—together?


It’s official: Carrie Firestone is incredibly talented and one of my new favourites. The Unlikelies are such a motley crew that accomplish great things — sometimes without truly meaning it or understanding the implication.

The story starts on the Sadie-and-Shay dynamic, and I thought Shay’s story was so interesting. I would’ve loved to read about the Tennis Camp from Hell and see how she started adjusting to life at college. And Sadie is such an unlikely good samaritan. I’m proud of her! She does the right things. She’s not someone like Ella’s parents. She may feel pressure to do things right, but she’s also an incredibly caring friend (just thinking of the times she’d drag Alice out to have fun, for example), a good daughter, and a courageous soul (the trap house; the incident). I can see why Gordie Harris is infatuated with her.

Speaking of that gay Gordie Harris: can he be any more perfect? He’s rich, smart, beautiful, and a Homegrown Hero. He freaking helps developmentally disabled adults! He’s talented with the saxophone and harmonica! He’s humble!! I can understand why everyone flirts with this guy because he is literally perfect and yet he doesn’t even seem unrealistic. Where is MY Gordie Harris?!?!

I’d say the Alice (and Izzy) storyline was one of the more major ones. It was fascinating for everyone involved to get swept in this dark underbelly of the world. The level of the issues felt extreme for high school, but the thing is… it happens. And in this case, it made sense how Izzy became who she did. An accident. Prescribed medication. Absentee parents. Insane wealth. Her letter at the end was tragic, especially learning where it came from. We almost never get the story of that solid friend, the one who tries to save addicts from the depths of darkness. We never get to see how freaking hard it is for them. Alice had to face a really, really difficult time. Her parents’ perspective added an interesting nuance to the story. I don’t think I’d ever become friends with someone like Alice, but my heart went out to her.

I’d say Val and Jean had smaller storylines, but they still had key moments. Val, Javi, and lupus. Her school supply drive, naivety, and lovely church community. I was such a fan of her. Never change, Valeria. And Jean — from the tiny arts show to the mask to the earthquake and subsequent coping mechanism… I just feel like he’ll end up a super-famous artist one day, and he deserves every second of the praise. The Unlikelies wouldn’t have become such a global phenomenon without his avatar. The hands were haunting, and I hope one day, he can move onto something else.

Meta: I love how Ms. Firestone tosses in fun “catch phrases” and quirky (but realistic) references. It makes me feel like I’m part of a grand inside joke, because I know what it means to purchase $12 hunks of cheese, who gadflies are, and understand that care packages are the best ever. Even something like a character named D-Bag: it’s never explained WHY he goes by that nickname, but it is addressed at some point. Also, Mute Mike, the cooking aficionado? An instant classic. I felt like I was in Sadie’s head.

And the canaries. My goodness. I wish we got a more solid resolution for them. I really though Carrie Firestone was going to tie everything together by having them used to prevent drug addiction or something noble. But I guess that’s 1/2 of Alice’s mission (aside from the puppies, of course). I also wish the unlikelies went public. And that we got to see Sadie and Gordie AT SCHOOL! But aside from that? This book is a shining gem — you could even call it a yellow diamond in the rough.

Related Reading

  • The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  • The Loose Ends List – Carrie Firestone
  • This Adventure Ends – Emma Mills
  • Books set in small beach towns (think Sarah Dessen) or the Hamptons

Rating: 5/5


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