Are you there St. Louis? It's me, Judy Blume.
No, it's not actually Blume. But the award-winning author -- whose young-adult novels are beloved by anyone who discovered them in their tumultuous teenage years -- is coming to St. Louis later this year to promote a new novel, this time for adults.
Blume, who penned Tiger Eyes, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, will speak and sign copies of her new book, In the Unlikely Event, in June at Chaminade College Preparatory Academy.
Blume based her new novel on a traumatic teenage experience of her own. In the three months before Blume's fourteenth birthday, three passenger airplanes crashed in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, killing about 100 people. Here's what happened, according to New Jersey news site NJ.com:
On Dec. 16, 1951, a Miami Airlines Curtis C-46 Commando crashed following an engine fire, killing all 55 on board and one on the ground along an industrial stretch of the Elizabeth River. On Jan. 22, 1952, an American Airlines Convair CV-240 crashed into a home on approach, killing all 23 on board (including former Secretary of War Robert Patterson) and 7 on the ground, though narrowly missing a girls' high school. On Feb. 11, 1952, a National Airlines DC-6 crashed into a four-story apartment building after take-off, killing 29 of 63 on board and four on the ground.
Blume draws from her memories of the crashes and from her own imagination for her new novel, telling the stories of three generations of families, friends and strangers deeply affected -- both directly and indirectly -- by the crashes.
"It was a crazy time," Blume says in a statement. "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."
Want to attend Blume's book signing?
The event starts at 7 p.m. June 19 at the Skip Viragh Center for the Arts at Chaminade College Preparatory Academy. One $31 ticket gets you in the event and a copy of the book. One $36 ticket gets you two tickets to the event, one book and a $5 rebate toward the purchase of a second book.
Buy tickets online through Left Bank Books.
Note: This story has been corrected with the accurate date for the signing, June 19.