Expecting the Unexpected

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Overview

Mavis Jukes, a Newbery Honor-winning author, gives a thoroughly modern look at family life. Whether at home or at school, River can't stop her body from changing. Her sister may be moody and her mother may be acting crazy, but thanks to Mrs. Gladys B. Furley, R.N., River discovers that human interaction doesn't have to be as awful as it sounds.

Twelve-year-old River and her sixth-grade classmates handle the information from their sex education class in different ...

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Overview

Mavis Jukes, a Newbery Honor-winning author, gives a thoroughly modern look at family life. Whether at home or at school, River can't stop her body from changing. Her sister may be moody and her mother may be acting crazy, but thanks to Mrs. Gladys B. Furley, R.N., River discovers that human interaction doesn't have to be as awful as it sounds.

Twelve-year-old River and her sixth-grade classmates handle the information from their sex education class in different ways, and it leads River to the conclusion that her older sister's unusual behavior is due to pregnancy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Full of broad humor and not-so-subtle ironies, this lighthearted novel shows how 12-year-old River learns the facts of life in a pilot sex education class taught in her school by peppy Mrs. Furley, a visiting nurse. If River does not have the courage to try on one of her sister's Kotex pads and "take it for a spin," as Furley suggests, the sixth grader does become well versed in the signs of pregnancy and soon becomes convinced that her teenaged sister is expecting a baby. Although the plota string of miscalculated suspicionsis unabashedly contrived, the characterizations, including River's down-to-earth mother and trod-upon homeroom teacher, are fresh and vivid. Relentless jests about PMS, pubic hair and panty liners become a little forced, but nonetheless demonstrate how well attuned Jukes (It's a Girl Thing) is to pre-adolescent concerns and attitudes about puberty. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW called this comedy of sixth-grade manners "full of broad humor and not-so-subtle ironies," and praised Jukes as "well attuned to preadolescent concerns and attitudes about puberty." Ages 10-up. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7Trying to finish homework about changes a woman's body goes through during pregnancy; feeling left out by classmates; absorbing information she gets from the new sex-ed teacher; vying for the Class with Class Award; and having a sister who's moody, tired, and sick and a mother who acts crazy are all challenges for 12-year-old River. While "expecting the unexpected," her period, she nearly misses the fact that someone in her own home is expecting a baby, and it's not who she first suspects. Once again, Jukes treats a sensitive subject in an innovative way. However, while the novel would serve as a good springboard for discussion, the focus on menstruation throughout most of it becomes overdone and repetitive. This is unfortunate, for family dynamics at the end of the story are poignant and perceptive while still humorously handled. Jukes is terrific at capturing adolescent concerns and really shines in portraying characters and relationships. River is spirited yet sweet. And no reader will forget her teacher, Mr. Elmo, with his Oriole's baseball cap, or the principal, Mrs. McPhearson, who performs "La Bamba" on a karaoke machine, or River's mom, who dances with a finch in the yard.Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Kirkus Reviews
From Jukes (I'll See You in My Dreams, 1993, etc.), sixth- grade comedy vérité: Sex-educated to the max, River is awaiting her first period (which she doesn't get). She is certain that her older sister, Megan ("The Royal Queen of PMS" and "Her Premenstrual Majesty") is pregnant (she's not) and doesn't notice that her mother's new baggy look conceals an unplanned middle-age pregnancy—the "unexpected" of the title. Adding to the hormonal overload, River's cat is pregnant (Mom didn't get around to having her neutered). River admires classmate DB who looks "great in his Nike T-shirt" and who takes "the rap for the girls" in the class campaign to haze their decent, nice-guy teacher. It's all skin deep, but the book is occasionally hilarious, thick with teenspeak and one-liners about everything from PMS to "Wedgie Hell."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440412274
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/9/1999
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 620L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.65 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2003

    this book took me for a surprise.

    this book help me understand,life now,because it was about teen pregancey.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2001

    a reviewer

    I thought Expecting the Unexpected was a great book for girls growing up. I really liked Planning the Impossibe, the sequel, a little better. I recommend reading both.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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