The Higher Power of Lucky (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Higher Power of Lucky (The Hard Pan Trilogy #1)

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  8,179 ratings  ·  1,133 reviews
Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has.

It's all Brigitte's fault -- for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Higher Power of Lucky, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Higher Power of Lucky

The Giver by Lois LowryHoles by Louis SacharA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Most Deserving Newbery
42nd out of 93 books — 2,099 voters
The Giver by Lois LowryA Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'EngleHoles by Louis SacharNumber the Stars by Lois LowryBridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Newbery Medal Winner Books
39th out of 93 books — 247 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Angela Dawn
This sleeper book is one of the most innovative, honest, and compassionate pieces of children's literature that I have read in a long time.
Through the endearing character of Lucky, the intelligent, insightful, resourceful, and resilient ten-year-old girl who became the foster child of her absentee father's French ex-wife after the death of her mother, we are given a child's eye view of a number of complex social issues in the well-named desert community of Hard Pan, CA., all handled with sensiti...more
Susan
This book may ring a bell because of the laughable controversy stirred up over the use of the word "scrotum" in a blink-and-you'll-miss it reference about a snake biting someone's pet dog. Ironically, the author probably chose the clinical term on purpose to avoid trouble, since the significantly rough-around-the-edges character who tells the story would almost certainly phrase it quite differently had he been a flesh and blood figure, but what can you do? As silly as this is, I feel like I have...more
Janssen
Overall, I just can't understand why this book won the Newbery, unless it was a sad year for children's lit. I just started listening to another Newbery book, A Wrinkle in Time," and in the introduction, the author comments that adults don't understand this book, but children "get it." I feel like this book is the exact opposite; I'm sure some adults felt like it was deep and meaningful and rich, but I suspect many children will find it a bit dull and depressing. Also, I found the book to be a b...more
Brandy
I’m not sure what can be said about this that hasn’t already been said—it’s a good book, a very pretty book, somewhat atmospheric, in its way. But there’s not a lot of action. It’s another in the Newbery committee’s standards: a book with a strong character who has some internal conflict, but not a whole lot happens externally. In this particular case, I think it worked better than, say, Criss Cross, because THPOL really is about being in a town that’s perfectly happy with the status quo. The bi...more
Linda Lipko
This is one of my favorite Newbery books to date!!!!

Once again, I am in awe of the ability of YA books to reach out and tug at heartstrings while dealing with very complex issues.

I highly recommend this profoundly moving tale of Lucky, a rough and tumble ten year old whose mother died tragically and thus now is in the guardianship of her father's previous wife Brigitte.

Brigitte moves from France to temporarily take care of Lucky until a "real" home can be found.

Living in three tiny connected tra...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Kinda sweet, smart enough, but not amazing enough for the Newbery. As other reviewers here say, it's been done. I guess I liked the fact that Lucky's 'family' is poor, but that it isn't a big deal like Grapes of Wrath or something, it's just a fact of life.

But I'm not sure why they live in Hard Pan - I would have thought Brigitte would have moved to town so she could use her energy to get a job, and not be so isolated amongst all the different 12-steppers in this town "Pop. 43."

Just weird thing...more
Yoni
Everyone's life story has the capacity to guide someone else who is searching for a thread of reason through their own. This is a special book, perfect for children. The plot is fairly simple but is riddled with complex themes--just like childhood. I found it difficult, at first, not to pathologize the behavior of each character. But the story serves as a great reminder that we all have our own struggles and our quirks. Those who listen carefully can find comfort in the experiences of others.
Lisa the Librarian
This is a Newbery Medal winning book. I had heard all kinds of caveats about it: "There is an 'unsuitable' wordin it." "It is all about a little girl listening to horror stories in Alocholics Anoynmous meetings." "It is just not a well written story."

It is one of those cases where the hype outweighs the actual facts. Because I know it is important to actually read a book before getting all upset about it, and the fact that my library recieved the book as a part of an Newbery collection I decide...more
Jen
My elder daughter and I went to a book reading by Susan Patron this evening which inspired me to finally write a review of The Higher Power of Lucky. This was, frankly, one of the most inspiring children's books that I've read in years. How often is it that authors tackle life, death, addiction and meanness without tottering over into Monday Night Movie territory? Patron handles these topics with class and style, or as her character Brigitte might say, "panache."
Lucky is 10 years old and lives...more
Meagan
Sep 29, 2007 Meagan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elementary and Junior High kids who like realistic stories
I primarily chose to read this book because it has been challenged in school libraries. If it hadn't been, I might never have found it. (Thank you, censorship flunkies!) I thought this book was tender and poignant, and the characters, particularly Lucky, were very sympathetic and three-dimensional. The tale follows Lucky, whose father never wanted children and whose mother died when she was young. She is now cared for by her father's first wife, Brigitte, who happens to be French. Lucky spends m...more
Medford Children's Library
Sep 27, 2007 Medford Children's Library rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like strong and interesting characters
Our newest Newbery Award winner introudces us to Lucky, a ten year old girl who is orphaned after the tragic death of her mother. Brigette, her father's exwife, leaves her home in France to take care of her. Lucky becomes anxiety ridden because she believes that this situation is only temporary. She searches for a Higher Power by overhearing AA meetings for strength and answers. She wishes she could have Brigette stay with her, but she knows she misses France. The hot California desert is not th...more
eva steele-saccio
I did enjoy this book, though I didn't think it necessarily merited a Newberry. The main character, Lucky, was quirky and intelligent and her adventures were entertaining and ultimately heartwarming. However, I felt like the writing was a bit sloppy, rushed and somewhat lazy in places. Nothing that couldn't be cleaned up with some additional editing, but still, to be bestowed the highest honor in children's literature...the writing should be impeccable. I say this realizing the intent of the pro...more
Amy
Summary: Lucky, an inquisitive and adventurous tween, lives in a small tight-knit desert community where she struggles to make sense of life's uncertainties like her mother's death, her father's disappearance from her life, and the degree of devotion of her guardian. Just as the people at addiction support group meetings on which Lucky spies, she hopes to find her "Higher Power" in order to make sense of things. Lucky's internal struggles with fear and trust (along with her tendency to get carri...more
SallySnowtiger
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary
Recommended Ages 9-12

From Booklist
Lucky, age 10, lives in tiny Hard Pan, California (population 43), with her dog and the young French woman who is her guardian. With a personality that may remind some readers of Ramona Quimby, Lucky, who is totally contemporary, teeters between bravado--gathering insect specimens, scaring away snakes from the laundry--and fear that her guardian will leave her to return to France. Looking for solace, Lucky eavesdrops on the various 12-step meetings held in Hard...more
Alicia
Nov 11, 2009 Alicia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: j
The Higher Power of Lucky is the story of a 10 year old girl named Lucky. Lucky's life seems from the outside to be quite desperate. Her mother has passed away, and her father, who doesn't want to have anything do to with her, convinces is ex-wife to move from France to be Lucky's guardian. Lucky and her guardian, Bridgitte live in a hodgepodge collection of small trailers in the tiny desert town of Hard Pan, California. Despite desperate poverty and the absence of her parents, Lucky sees the be...more
Edit Ostrom
Reading this book was like eating raw broccoli. You know it's good for you but you'd rather stop eating. After a while, even broccoli starts tasting good. So, I had to force myself through half the book before I started actually enjoying it and I really doubt a child has enough will power to reach that point.

There were so many things I did not like in the beginning. A child name Lucky? A beautiful, young Frech woman taking care of an American kid in a CA trailer? And the kid is the daughter of...more
Helynne
Ten-year-old Lucky, who lost her mother in a freak accident, and has never met her father, lives in a "ham tin" trailer in Hard Pan, California (pop. 43) in the middle of the Mojave Desert. For the moment, her father's first wife, Brigitte, has come to Hard Pan from France to be Lucky's guardian, bringing her parsley grinder and her tendency to say "Oh, la, la," to every clumsy thing that Lucky does. (Sometimes its "Oh, la, la, la, la" or even "Oh, la, la, la, la, la, la, LA, LA," because the m...more
Steve Clark
The review on the back says "Patron is a master of light but sure characterization and closely observed detail. A small gem." It's hard to improve on that. This is not a story of high drama or tense action, and it can only slightly be characterized as a 'coming-of-age' tale, because Lucky is still the same young girl at the end of the story that she was at the beginning. What it IS is a tender, slightly sentimental look at a young girl struggling with her very normal desire for a sense of belong...more
Amber Delauri
Genre: Junior Book- Contemporary Realism
Summary: Lucky is a ten year old girl who has, unfortunately, not been very lucky in her life so far. Her mother died after stepping on a fallen power line, her father abandoned her, and now she believed her guardian Brigitte was leaving her to go back to France. Lucky needed some kind of control on her life, so she decided to run away where she was finally given the clarity she was looking for.
Critique- The character development of Lucky.
Lucky has had a...more
Tapestrymlp
I've heard good things about this book and it's an award winner after-all. It's also on the list of frequently banned books, all because the word scrotum appears in the first chapter.

The descriptions were very good and vivid, the dialogue decent. The author did a good job of capturing Lucky's thoughts and putting the reader into the head of a young girl. The overall plot and pace were a bit slow and didn't hold my interest for long, however. This feels like a book that is trying to be deep but...more
Melissa
The main character of this novel is named Lucky. She is ten years old and lives in Hard Pan, California which only has a population of 43. Her mother died after touching an ungrounded electrical wire and her father decides to remarry a French woman who he leaves Lucky with as her guardian. Lucky also has a dog that she is very close to. She is in constant fear that her guardian will leave her and return to France. Lucky is a very unconventional ten year old girl much like Ramona Quimby, wanting...more
Nathaniel
Mar 05, 2013 Nathaniel marked it as to-read
Lucky is a 10 year old girl living in Hard Pan, California. She has three major friend in Hard Pan, HMS beagle(her dog), Lincoln(a boy her same age), and Miles(a five year old neighbor boy). Her mother died in a fire 2 years earlier. Lucky keeps her mother's ashes in a urn. Her father is not present in her life. She lives with her father's ex-wife, Brigitte. Brigitte moved from France to be her guardian at the request of Lucky’s Father. Lucky is searching for her higher power after listening in...more
Daniel
I've made it a habit to read the Newbery Medal winning books, and often I read the runners-up as well. What I've found is that lately I have been less than impressed with the winning titles. This particular winner typifies my dislike for the winning choices.

What we have in this book is all the didactic qualities that the ALA seems to like, mixed in with a parent-less youth, who happens to be bright enough to overcome her own situation. It's the same qualities that we found in KIRA-KIRA, CRISPIN,...more
Jason Pettus
(I now maintain a blog just for my kid-lit reviews. Find it at http://kidlit4adults.blogspot.com .)

A friend has convinced me to try my hand this year for the first time at children's literature; but I don't actually know anything about children's literature, so am starting the process among other ways by first reading all the books that have won the Newbery Award in the last ten years, although I've been warned that there is sometimes a strong disconnect between such books and what the actual bo...more
Stefani
This Newbery Award winner was a really sweet book. Ten year old Lucky struggles to find her place. After listening in on 12-step programs for various addictions, Lucky seeks to find her higher power. Her mother died only a couple years ago, and to her knowledge, she has never met her father. When she fears that guardian Brigette wants to leave her and return to France, Lucky runs away to find her higher power. The town, Hard Pan, has a population of 43, and the characters presented are as colorf...more
Dotty
Fearing that her legal guardian plans to abandon her to return to France, ten-year-old aspiring scientist Lucky Trimble determines to run away while also continuing to seek the Higher Power that will bring stability to her life.

I would have to say that I liked it, and I thought it was a good book with interesting viewpoints, great take on community, very human, believable and lovable main character. It also touches on a typical child tendency - see evidence of impending doom and internalize it r...more
Mariah
Meh. This books feel like a formulaic newbery novel. I do like the controversy about scrotum it raised. That was amusing and interesting at least.
Stacy
Mar 29, 2007 Stacy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: younger Newberry readers
A good story with a vividly rendered background of an impoverished small town in the California desert. This is a the book that uses the term (shock! Horror!) "scrotum," which likely would have escaped my notice, if not for the hullabaloo about it. [parenthetical: with all the vulgarity we are constantly assulted by, a somewhat comic but perfectly respectful anotomical reference seems quite beside the point
] The twelve step references (including the "Higher Power) and allusions to addiction migh...more
Leigh Isley
Age Ranges: 3rd - 6th grades

Lucky is a young girl that comes to live with her father's ex-French Wife. Her name is Brigitte and she becomes Lucky's guardian when Lucky's mother dies from stepping on a down power line after a rain storm and her father doesn't want her. The entire story is based on a tiny town in the desert of California who come together in the end to help Lucky understand that the "Higher Power" is really the love of the people that most care about you.

Such a cute story that tel...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Great Middle Grad...: The Higher Power of Lucky 9 57 Jan 18, 2014 01:59PM  
12 Steps programs are Private 11 48 May 06, 2013 03:48PM  
  • Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon
  • Dobry
  • Tales From Silver Lands
  • Daniel Boone
  • Roller Skates
  • Criss Cross
  • Shen of The Sea: Chinese Stories for Children
  • ...And Now Miguel
  • The Dark Frigate
  • Waterless Mountain
  • Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village
  • It's Like This, Cat
  • The White Stag
  • Shadow Of A Bull
  • M.C. Higgins, the Great
  • The Story of Mankind
  • Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
  • Miss Hickory
34940
Susan Patron specialized in Children's Services for 35 years at the Los Angeles Public Library before retiring in 2007, the same year her novel The Higher Power of Lucky was awarded the John Newbery Medal. As the library's Juvenile Materials Collection Development Manager, she trained and mentored children's librarians in 72 branches. Patron has served on many book award committees, including the...more
More about Susan Patron...
Lucky Breaks (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #2) Lucky for Good (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #3) Behind the Masks: The Diary of Angeline Reddy, Bodie, California, 1880 (Dear America) Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe Burgoo Stew

Share This Book

“Because sometimes Lucky wanted to change everything, all the bad things that had happened, and sometimes she wanted everything to stay the same forever.” 9 likes
“It made her feel discouraged, like if you took the word apart into two sections of dis and couraged. It was getting harder and harder to stay couraged.” 3 likes
More quotes…