Three Times Lucky
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Three Times Lucky

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  5,950 ratings  ·  1,004 reviews
Newbery honor winner, New York Times bestseller, Edgar Award Finalist, and E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor book.

A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime

Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane e...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Dial
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Newbery 2013
9th out of 111 books — 993 voters
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Middle Grade Novels of 2012
27th out of 337 books — 560 voters


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Community Reviews

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Sps
There are things precocious children say, there are things quaint children say, and then there are things that children's literature authors make up which even the quaintest and most precocious child would not say, and this book's full of them. Children's literature protagonists seem to have remarkable abilities to say full (and highly quotable) sentences to all and sundry. They do not um, err, quote from pop culture, swear, or get tongue-tied, like the children I know in real life. This makes t...more
Alison
I loved, loved, LOVED this book. It's a sensational, highly memorable debut novel -- one I enjoyed so much that I didn't want the book to end! I can't WAIT to see what Sheila Turnage writes next.
Betsy
The Southern Girl Novel. It’s pretty much a genre in and of itself in the children’s literary world. Some years produce more of them than others but they all tend to follow the same format. Sleepy town plus spunky girl equals mild hijinks, kooky townspeople, self-awakening, etc. After a while they all start to blend together, their details merging and meshing and utterly impossible to separate. I’m just mentioning all this as a kind of preface to Three Times Lucky. Sure, you can slap a Gilbert F...more
April Franklin
Well, I should start right out saying this is not my kind of book, and honestly I knew that going in. I read it for the middle school book club at work and never would have picked it up otherwise. It just strikes me as being the kind of children's book written for nostalgic adults, not children. I did give the book two stars rather than one solely because the murder mystery was kind of interesting. Other than that, well, I'm just glad I'm done with it now.
Destinee Sutton
Mo LoBeau is a rising sixth-grader in the tiny town of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. She's a slick talking girl whose best friend is a boy named Dale Earnhardt Johnson III. Mo lives with adoptive parents: Miss Lana, a wig-wearing eccentric cafe owner, and the Colonel, a man with no memory of his past who calls Mo "soldier" (affectionately) and hates lawyers. Mo and Dale decide to become detectives when a local man is murdered and the only suspects seem to be Dale and the Colonel.

Sheila Turnag...more
Wendy
No one could be more surprised at how much I liked this book than me. As a rule I loathe folksy narrators and down-home settings and quirky casts of characters. When I saw this book listed on a Newbery-possibility list, I cringed and hoped no one else would recommend it. Eventually I saw it in too many places and had to put it on hold.

This book is the real deal. Is it folksy and quirky? Does it have a lot of country/Southern speech? Yes. But it is never, ever cloying or irritating, because it se...more
Laurel
It's got drinking and cussing and bad parenting and neglect and murder and child labor. It's also perfect. Every word counts. We need more books like this.
Angie
Mo (short for Moses) lives with the Colonel and Miss Lana and is very lucky. She washed up during a hurricane when she was a baby and was discovered by the Colonel. Mo has her best friend Dale and the Cafe her family runs in Tupelo Landing, NC and life is pretty good. That is until a lawman comes to town and Mr. Jesse ends up murdered. Suddenly Dale is a suspect, the Colonel and Lana are missing and Mo has to solve the mystery of what is happening around her.

This was a delightful story. Mo is a...more
Barbara
I guess I'll be going against the crowd on this one--possibly because I have a lot/hate relationship with how writers often depict the South and the quaint Southern towns in which so many eccentric characters with odd names live--names like Dale Earnhardt Johnson III and Lavender Shade. While I liked a lot of things about Moses including her created family of the Colonel and Miss Lana and her constant search for her mother by sending off messages in bottles, I also disliked the haste with which...more
Lori Redman
Three Times Lucky tells the story of Mo LoBeau, a sixth grader with no biological mother in sight. She was sent downstream on a raft during a hurricane and adopted by amnesiac Colonel and his girlfriend Miss Lana. Although she spends most of her time thinking about her "Upstream Mother", Mo finds herself with another mystery at hand when local man Mr. Jesse is murdered. Mo and her best friend Dale act as Detectives to try to solve the mystery of the murder, and encounter a hurricane and a kidnap...more
Donalyn
This book has garnered so many accolades that I feel confused by how mediocre I thought it was. It's true that I have a chip on my shoulder about portrayals of Southerners as ignorant, poor hicks, but I just didn't think the writing was that great.

There were many moments when the book didn't feel like it was written for its intended audience-- like Dale's remark that his brother said he was too pretty to do hard time in prison.

I did like the characters and the sense of community and caring rang...more
Monica Edinger
Completely and utterly charming!

Many lovely bits, but my favorite has to be the line, "I'm a lawyer." Read the book to find out why.
Laura
This has been on my "to-read" list ever since it won a Newbery Honor. Fate kept intervening -- first the copy I ordered for school didn't come. (Backordered.) Then it was checked out at our local libraries. Finally read it yesterday -- what a delight! (I started it in the morning and was finished by dinner time -- nice to have a holiday for reading!)

It's a mystery set in a small town in rural NC. The characters are quirky and likable. They speak in the way small-town characters speak, and the na...more
Raina
Kids still like an old-fashioned yarn.

I was tempted to not take this one out to the elementary schools on my pre-summer reading program visits this year. It's much thicker than I usually shoot for, and it's already getting attention since it won a bunch of honors during book award season.

But the kids really responded to this bright cover and old-fashioned story.

Mo lives in a tiny town in the south. She and her parents (nontraditional though they might be) run the local diner where everyone in...more
Bookyurt
Oh my gosh, I loved it. If this book doesn’t charm your socks off, I don’t know what will.

Three Times Lucky is a hilariously wry, marvelously eccentric little mystery that overflows with pure southern charm. Now let’s face it, when it comes to southern-isms, nine times out of ten they fall flat, ring false, or just feel hokey and overblown, like the author is trying to muscle a y’all into place – but this book, this wonderful little gem, is definitely the exception. Turnage just nails it, dancin...more
Elizabeth K.
I was amazed I liked this book as much as I did. At the beginning, I was suspicious it was going to be too Southern/quirky/cloying for my taste, the protagonist is a sixth grader who was orphaned in a hurricane, raised in a small town by an eccentric couple, and is one of those children's literature kids who is always saying sassy things.

But pretty soon into it, I was thinking this could be a three star book, because while it WAS quirky, it wasn't so much so that it got in the way of the story,...more
Hilary
Trouble drove into Tupelo Landing in the form of a Chevy Impala and a man named Detective Starr. Mo Lebeau's own detective skills and power of deduction know that car and it's driver are trouble the moment it pulls up to cafe that she works at with her adoptive mother, Miss Lana, and the mysterious "Colonel". Shortly after the car arrives, there is a murder, and Mo sets out with her friend Dale to try to solve the mystery before Detective Starr can.
I found this book to be a little scatterbrained...more
Mary
Meet the latest member of juvenile fiction's Feisty Females Hall of Fame: Mo LoBeau, an eleven-year-old cafe manager, martial arts expert, detective, and "goddess of free enterprise." Her adoptive dad is The Colonel, a man who lost his memory and found Baby Mo in the course of a single hurricane. Mom is Miss Lana, a free spirit who daily gives the family's cafe a new theme according to her whims. While Mo attempts to locate her birth mother, she eventually discovers that it's love that makes a f...more
Betsy
At 10am I opened “Three Times Lucky” by Sheila Turnage, and by 4pm that same day I closed “Three Times Lucky”. And this may sound bad that I am closing the book so soon, but it’s not. I couldn’t put it down for the life of me! Turnage created a town and family of sorts in Tupela Landing, a town only 2 blocks long, but with a story a nations worth.

I’m not sure were to start with this review. The story goes through sort of a maze of side stories to come up with it’s final resting place. Each pe...more
Terri
Let me preface this commentary by stating that I love Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. There is a reason Miss Lee's only novel leads all others in voting for the Best Novel of the 20th Century on Goodreads.com. It speaks to readers. It resonates with them. Scout's voice rings true, and Atticus Finch is the ideal Southern gentleman father. That said, Sheila Turnage's debut novel could be sub-titled To Kill a Mockingbird for Pre-teens. Before you cry, "Sacrilege!" let me explain. Plop Miss Jean...more
Gwen the Librarian
For the first time ever, in my opinion, a children's novel has capitalized on the stereotypical quirkiness of the South and made it work. It glows! Moses LoBeau (a girl) is growing up behind the busy cafe in a tiny North Carolina town. Miss Lana and the Colonel are her stand-in parents because when Mo was an infant she washed ashore during a hurricane and the Colonel caught her. Mo spends much of the book writing letters and notes to her unknown "upstream mother" and sending them off in bottles....more
Jean Jambas
I was impressed by this first novel. Although it was written for children, it could be equally enjoyed by adults. Truly, this was a surprise gem and I look forward to more by this author.
Lesa
One of my co-workers brought me Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, saying it was a fun mystery, and she thought I would like it. She knows I'll read a good mystery, even when it's a juvenile book. And, Turnage introduces wonderful characters in a story filled with humor and drama.

Welcome to Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, where "rising sixth grader" Miss Moses LoBeau tells the story of the summer she was eleven when a stranger, Detective Joe Starr, walked into the cafe owned my Mo's stepparent...more
Beth
The most interesting thing about Three Times Lucky is the way it doesn't read as fiction - instead, it reads as children's fantasy. Our plucky eleven-year-old protagonist gets involved in the most sanitized murder case imaginable, is actually helpful in said case, is respected by all the adults around her, is threatened without ever really being in danger, and suspects someone who is an actual cliche - and is right.

She and her town might be actual cliches, too. And yet the book works anyway, mos...more
Lonna Pierce
This Newbery Honor winner is a murder mystery set in North Carolina with a plucky girl protagonist, Mo (short for Moses,)her friends, and "family" in a backwater community. Washed ashore in a hurricane 11 years ago, Mo is found as a baby by the Colonel, who is suffering from amnesia himself. He and Miss Lana run the Diner, a community gathering place, and raise Mo. News of a murder in Winston-Salem drifts into town, along with Detective Star, a distrustful stranger looking into several unsolved...more
Linda Lipko
Well deserving of the 2013 Newbery honor, I loved this laugh-out-loud creative book.

During a hurricane, baby Mo (Moses) LoBeau was found floating in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina by a quirky man named The Colonel. From henceforth she was raised and loved by The Colonel and Miss Lana.

Now at eleven years of age, she renders all tempest tossed should they cross her path. She is witty, intelligent, snarky and down right loveable.

When a body is found, she and her friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III,...more
Bayla
Buzzwords: Murder mystery, crime, police, non-traditional family, adoption, North Carolina, small towns, friendship, optimism, determination

As far as I know, I'm the only kid in Tupelo landing researching her own autobiography. I'm also the only kid who needs to. So far, my life is one big, fat mystery. At its heart lies this question: Who is my Upstream Mother, and why hasn't she come for me?
Fortunately, I'm a natural born detective, hot on my own trail since birth. I mostly decorate my room wi
...more
EParkinson
Three Times Lucky is one of the quirkiest, well-written novels for middle school students written this year. Mo LoBeau, of Tupelo Landing, NC, is a rising sixth grader who writes to her "Upstream Mother", sends messages in a bottle, and on the side loathes Anna "Attila" Celeste. That is until Detective Joe Starr comes to Tupelo Landing and upsets the day-to-day of this small community. Now Mo must protect the Colonel, run the cafe until Miss Lana returns from Charleston, and solve the murder of...more
Em (Love YA Lit)
Em's Review: Miss Moses LoBeau, rising sixth grader, lives in Tupelo Landing NC (population: 148) with the Colonel and Miss Lana, owner and hostess of the local cafe. Like her namesake, Mo was separated from her mother as a baby and sent downstream during a hurricane. Mo hopes to someday solve the mystery of just who her “upstream mother” is, but this summer she has another mystery to solve: a murder mystery. When a lawman comes to town on a murder investigation, and a local man turns up dead in...more
Pam
Turnage has created rich, memorable characters with strong voices. Moses, the main character, is a strong, clever young girl. Her best friend with his own idiosyncracies is also very likeable and a good example of someone with unconventional (or at least under-appreciated) intelligence. In one scene, the neighbors turn out in support of the main character in a way that made me want to live in their small town.

I have issues with the plot twists and turns. There's a murder mystery, sexual referenc...more
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