Brandy's Reviews > Lucky Breaks

Lucky Breaks by Susan Patron
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's review
Mar 29, 2009

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bookshelves: 2009, for-reviews, childrens, bildungsroman, realistic, friendship, middle-grade
Read in March, 2009

[Insert usual why-can't-a-book-be-a-standalone-book-anymore rant here. Also: there will be a third, or at least that's the implication in Patron's acknowledgments at the end. ]

As her eleventh birthday draws near, Lucky finds herself wanting just one thing: a girlfriend. Lincoln's been her best friend for years, but lately Lucky's looking at him more critically: he's always so calm and rational, and so caught up in his knot-tying, and the secret project he's working on for the knotting competition he's entered. What Lucky wants in a friend is someone who knows how to have fun and do things that are maybe a little more dangerous, less predictable. So when Lucky meets Paloma, a girl her own age tagging along on a trip through Hard Pan with her geologist uncle, she knows Paloma is the adventure-friendly best friend she's wanted. As her friendship with Paloma grows, Lucky pushes Lincoln away--even when he's rescued her from an impossible jam of her own making.

Like its predecessor, Lucky Breaks has a quiet grace, a bittersweet story of learning just what loving someone means, whether it's a maternal figure (Brigitte in Higher Power) or a friend, as is the case here. Lucky is struggling to distance herself from Lincoln, and while adults will recognize exactly what she's doing and why, Lucky herself doesn't seem to know.

Unfortunately, while adults will recognize what Lucky is going through and appreciate the humor and bittersweet sadness of her early adolescence, it will be the rare kid who takes to this book. Lucky is so much younger than the older teens her character will speak to that they are unlikely to pick up her story; middle-school students who will relate to Lucky's chronological age will lack the maturity to understand her situation. It's a beautifully written story, but it's unclear who the audience for it will be.
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