Goodreads ~ In 1987, Miri Ammerman returns to her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to attend a commemoration of the worst year of her life.
Thirty-five years earlier, when Miri was fifteen and in love for the first time, a succession of airplanes fell from the sky, leaving a community reeling. Against this backdrop of actual events that Blume experienced in the early 1950s, when airline travel was new and exciting and everyone dreamed of going somewhere, she paints a vivid portrait of a particular time and place - Nat King Cole singing “Unforgettable,” Elizabeth Taylor haircuts, young (and not-so-young) love, explosive friendships, A-bomb hysteria, rumors of Communist threat. And a young journalist who makes his name reporting tragedy. Through it all, one generation reminds another that life goes on.
In the span of three months in 1951-52, three planes miss the Newark Airport and crash in Elizabeth, NJ, killing crew members and residents (these plane crashes really happened). Miri is 15 and living in Elizabeth and this book deals with how the crashes affect Miri, her family and friends. During this time, Miri meets a boy and falls in love and meets her father who has never been in her life. Thirty-five years later, Miri returns to Elizabeth for the 35th anniversary of the crashes.
I wasn't crazy about this book. I know the background of the crashes was tragic but I found this book depressing and dreary. Plus I found the writing was draggy and could have been tighter ... there was so much detail provided about everyone's life. There were some far fetched storylines (like with Natalie and Ruby). It is written in third person perspective from everyone's point of view (there are headers so you know who the focus is). As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.
There were a lot of characters and they are all interconnected and I had a hard time keeping them straight. Plus I didn't really like any of them so had no emotional connection. Miri is the illegitimate daughter of Rusty whose brother is Henry (a reporter) and is dating Leah, and their mother is Irene, who is dating Ben whose wife was killed in the first plane crash. Miri is dating Mason who has a dog named Fred, whose brother, Jack, is dating Cristina, whose mother and sister own a lingerie store and want Cristina to marry a Greek man, and she works in the dental office of Miri's best friend, Natalie's father, Dr. O, who is married to Corrinne, who comes from a rich family and likes to shop. Natalie's brother, Steve, is dating Kathy, who is his friend, Phil's cousin, whose mother, Mrs. Stein, dogsits Fred because Mason lives in an orphanage and can't have a dog there. See what I mean? And that's just some of them!