Jackson Brodie is a PI who has been saddled with boring cases until he gets slammed with three cases, almost within the same week. The first is the caJackson Brodie is a PI who has been saddled with boring cases until he gets slammed with three cases, almost within the same week. The first is the case of a missing child long gone. The second is a seemingly random murder of a young girl. The third, a woman looking her orphaned niece she promised to care for after her sister was convicted of killing her husband.
Atkinson masterfully tells these three stories, allowing them to touch each other at the perfect points. Her characters are wonderfully drawn and as Brodie teases apart the mysteries, what he finds about the cases are so much less interesting that what we discover about the characters involved. Atkinson is a master of both spoken and inner dialogue and she gives her characters such interesting peccadilloes that they seem they must be real.
And though the cases themselves bring up plenty of dark matter for all involved, Atkinson ably balances this with an effervescent wit that often had me chuckling.
I look forward to seeing what happens to Brodie in the next installment in the series. ...more
I don't really read a ton of children's books. Mainly I read teen titles or adult titles. But when this one won the Newbery I had to read it because iI don't really read a ton of children's books. Mainly I read teen titles or adult titles. But when this one won the Newbery I had to read it because it is:
1) written by a librarian 2) written by a librarian who worked at the same system as me
Of course I want to love the book for those two reasons!
The Higher Power of Lucky is a good children's book. Lucky is plucky -- a 10-year-old scientist in the making who is searching for a mother who will love her. Her guardian, French transplant Brigitte, is sent to watch over Lucky temporarily after her mother dies in a freak accident. Lucky worries that Brigitte could return to Paris any day and is convinced that if she hits rock bottom and finds her "higher power" that she will be able to become the girl that Brigitte will want to stay in Hard Pan to adopt.
Portions of this book were wonderfully done. I love best pal Lincoln and five-year-old Miles. I love the internal dialogue that Lucky has about her insecurities and her interest in science.
But as with most children's books, there are always questions about voice. Is the voice authentic? Will a child REALLY enjoy this book like the adult librarians who selected it for the Newbery Award this past year? For me, it's hard to be sure. The author worked with children for a long time. I also work with children a lot and don't see enough children with the intellectual curiosity and maturity level that Lucky has at 10. The epiphanies she has that prove important for the movement of the plot are not always 100% believable, but then again, I want to be optimistic about how children think and behave.
As with the majority of the recent Newbery books that I have read, I would recommend The Higher Power of Lucky to any adult with an interest in children's literature. The title would also hit home with children who are eager readers or who would identify with Lucky's scientific curiosity. ...more