Friday, December 12, 2014

Lucky Breaks review

Lucky Breaks
by Susan Patron
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
March 2009

First line: "Eleven, Lucky thought from her seat at the back of the school bus, eleven, eleven, eleven, and the idea of it, the sound of it, threw off sparks in her head."

In this wonderful sequel to The Higher Power of Lucky, we return to the dusty micro-town of Hard Pan, California. Lucky's meandering thoughts and careful appreciation of little details is explored in a quirky and whimsical fashion.  She sees eleven as being intrepid and cherishes the "secret 11" in the straps of her new training bra. At eleven years of age, she is clearly looking forward to growing up, wearing make-up and other such things that are just ahead of her... yet she is still happy to not-quite be there yet. Lucky reminded me of Fern from Charlotte's Web in many ways.

Lucky has settled into a much more comfortable relationship with her adoptive mother Brigitte, who has started a new business, a small cafe. Geologists are up to study the rocks in Hard Pan, which affords Lucky the rare opportunity to make friends with a visiting girl her own age, Paloma.  Again, Lucky stirs up trouble with her misunderstandings, and awkward, earnest overeagerness to reach out to new friends.

Birgitte's speech to Paloma's overprotective mother about how the world is full of danger, but full of adventure and wonderful things too, to let children experience things and try being brave seems like a rallying call against helicopter parenting.

Lucky's reverence for science, including her hero worship of Charles Darwin and, in general, her unique way of looking at the world will continue to charm those who enjoyed the finely-wrought world introduced in The Higher Power of Lucky.

Compare to:
Penny Dreadful - Laurel Snyder
The Great Wall of Lucy Wu - Wendy Wan-Long Shang
Because of Winn-Dixie - Kate DiCamillo

I borrowed this book from the library.

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