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The Lotterys Plus One

(The Lotterys #1)

3.39  ·  Rating details ·  1,535 ratings  ·  401 reviews
Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is sufferin ...more
Hardcover, 303 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Bailey Olfert The protagonist is 9, but a mature 9 :)
If you have an enthusiastic reader who is okay puzzling out the family's unique lingo, it isn't a hard read.
The protagonist is 9, but a mature 9 :)
If you have an enthusiastic reader who is okay puzzling out the family's unique lingo, it isn't a hard read.
Emotional maturity to handle fluid gender roles, same-sex marriage, neurodiversity, adoption, aging/alzheimer's.(less)
Andrea The publisher says 8-12 years old; probably 4-6th grade.

Community Reviews

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3.39  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,535 ratings  ·  401 reviews

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Ms. Yingling
Jan 01, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

The Lottery family was formed by PopCorn, who is from a Scottish family in the Yukon and who is partnered with PapaDum, who is from India, and Jamaican MaxiMum, and CardaMom, who is a member of the Mohawk tribe. When the oldest child was born, all four friends were at the hospital and found a lottery ticket. When it ended up winning, they all quit their jobs to live an ecofriendly life in a 32 room house where they adopted a multicultural group of children
Brenda A
Apr 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: shelf-awareness
I've been ruminating on this one for a couple days, and I gotta tell ya, it's just way too much of a gimmick.

Literally every single alternative lifestyle you can think of is here. Two multicultural couples. Who are of course, best friends, so the kids have four parents instead of two. They don't drive. They go to local plays and markets and concerts. None of the parents work. All of the kids are homeschooled. Most of the children are adopted. One is transgender. All of them are named after tree
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My review, but first a little background. Just a paragraph, don't fret.

In the United States. this year’s national summer reading theme is Build a Better World. My library has chosen to take a more metaphorical approach to the subject and combined that with Gene Luen Yang’s (the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature) program Reading Without Walls. Our goal is for kiddos to read outside their comfort zones in order to diversify their awareness. After all, how can we build a better worl
It turns out there is a limit on how much super-progressive, super-gimmicky, super-alternative, super-hippie, super-eco, super-diverse, super-smug super-family super-cuteseyness I can reasonably swallow in one sitting, and this story is it. You live and learn.
Kaethe Douglas
May 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
The Lotterys Plus One - Emma Donoghue, Caroline Hadilaksono   A failure, sadly, not epic. Here's the set up: an enormous, unconventional family living in Toronto epitomizes all the lefty, hippy, green, etc. positions you can imagine, just exactly as if someone had said, hmm, "what's the super liberal family of today?" and proceeded to include every idea that came to mind, starting with Angelina and Brad's kids but with one lesbian and one gay couple co-parenting. Everyone represents some differe ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, 2016, lgbtq
On page 50 of the ARC... Please, please, please tell me the author a.) has an AMAZING explanation later in the book for misgendering one of her characters or b.) fixed this enormous editing error in the final copy. Please.

UPDATE: DNF (stopped at pg. 100). Couldn't get past the misgendering of Brian. The writing was as scattershot as the Lottery household. Super disappointed.
May 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
DNF. I'm on page 14 and Brian is being misgendered SO MUCH and I just can't handle it. I even looked up other reviews to see if there were author interviews where Donoghue explains herself, or has an authors note, or even just apologizes. Nothing. I flipped to the last chapter and Brian is still being misgendered. I even went through digging for more details, some textual evidence that Brian is written as gender-fluid or gender-nonconforming, which is what reviewers and the author herself have s ...more
Elizabeth A
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, kids-ya
2.5 stars.

This is a story targeted at 8-12 year old readers, and I think it's wonderful that books like these exist today.

This is the story of a large, blended, queer family told from the point of 9 year old Sumac Lottery. Her family consists of "four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery." One day out of the blue, there is news that a grandfather she didn't know existed is moving in with
Jan 30, 2017 added it
Shelves: children-s
Gonna need to think about this one for a while before I decide how I feel about it.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Too much, too, erm, 'earnest' is not a strong enough word... shall we say, 'preachy?'

And awfully disrespectful of Dad. I mean, I'd get the nickname 'Grumps' too, if I were treated this way, big life decisions made for me even though I'm eighty friggin two years old. After less than a month he's starting to melt and folks are glad to have him? Um, no.

Of course, I'm a sucker for the list of books that Sumac mentions. Most of which I'm already familiar with, but Ima gonna list the unfamiliar ones i
Lots of quirk. I mean, lots and lots of quirk. The family set-up is quirky, the parenting styles are quirky, the children are quirky, the house is quirky, the names (people and house and rooms and animals) are quirky. And just as I was beginning to get irritated by all the quirk, I realised that actually...there are lots of similarities between this family and mine. I'm not really sure what that says about us - but I suspect it's mostly good! 3.5*
Elise (TheBookishActress)
3.5 stars. I genuinely like middle-grade novels; the genre has a more simplistic writing style, which can actually be nice, and doesn't usually lean on romance, which can only be a good thing. But middle grade realistic books often suffer from the same issue; they're unmemorable. Too simplistic and lacking in fleshed-out characters. While The Lotterys Plus One is a particularly good middle-grade novel, it still suffers from the same issues.

The Lotterys Plus One is a diverse retelling of full ho
C.J. Milbrandt
The Lotterys are an unusual family by any standard, with two moms, two dads, seven children (mostly adopted), and a handful of pets. But when a grandfather is diagnosed with dementia and has to move in, his grumping cramps their style. Quirky names and living green. Homeschooling and trampolines. Recycling and reclaiming and reports ... and losing your marbles.

I kind of adored this because I homeschooled our lot, and the free-form lessons and teachable moments ring completely true. It would hav
Were Wolf
Aug 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book drove me crazy. Sumac is the 5th kid and 9 years old in the Lottery family, and her life is turned upside down when her until now "dormant grandfather" nearly burns his home down, and subsequently comes to live with the Lotterys. "Grumps" is homophobic and racist, which is very hard for the multi-ethnic family parented by 4 gay and lesbian parents. But instead of offering support and guidance to their children about how to handle this hateful man, they continually ask Sumac to sacrific ...more
I listened to this while spinning the most gorgeous skein of yarn from two braids of dyed combed top. So gorgeous, in fact, that multiple people at the yarn store asked if I sold my handspun.

I'm talking about what I was doing while listening to this book because the spinning was honestly more enjoyable than the book. This was a bit of a mixed bag. The narrator was fantastic and had a very unique voice for each of the characters and it was perfect. The narrator alone saved the book from a two-st
Jayne Catherine pinkett
was sent an early copy of this book in return for my independent honest review. I rated this book 1.5* So sorry to rate one of my favourite authors so low. This is Emma Donahue's transition from adult fiction to middle grade. Unfortunately this just didn't work for me. As I love this authors adult books, I was so excited to read this new release. The premise sounded exciting and so promising. My overall thought is the old adage 'Less is More' it's as if she thought of everything she wanted to pu ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Eccentric, unconventional, diverse and lively, The Lotterys Plus One is the story of a family unlike any other you've ever met.
Everything is jolly at the Lottery household until PopCorn's dad (one of the grandfathers) is brought to Camelottery (the Lotterys' home) so they can assess if he is still able to live by himself. Nicknamed Grumps, he is not happy to be there, and seven children, particularly Sumac, are not sure what to make of their estranged grandfather. As it becomes apparent this ma
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, fiction, arc
Very, very twee, but despite the occasional eyeroll, I never found myself annoyed or unwilling to read further. In fact, though eccentric dialogue and chaotic vignette largely stands in for plot, this is ultimately a very sweet and charming story about family and acceptance. The diversity angle is deliberately placed in focus, but in a way that is both very believable and very germane to the story. And the characters, to a one, are wonderful. This is a great read for kids looking for something f ...more
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
The Lotterys Plus One
by Emma Donoghue (Goodreads Author), Caroline Hadilaksono
Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Part of the reason why I loved Emma Donoghue's novel Room so much was because the voice of the little boy was so beautifully done. He was exactly like a five year old boy who had only interacted with a smart young woman for his entire existence. His mannerisms, logic, and conclusions were so like a five year old that I really felt like I was reading his story. The thing I love about Donoghue's novels and short stories is her ability to make me feel deeply about the people she writes about.

So I w
I'm all for diversity, and yes, I firmly can be counted among those who are convinced that books highlighting diversity are needed, and I appreciate the author's intentions here--to show a very diverse family dealing with the joys and challenges of everyday life. BUT...Although there are undoubtedly families just like the Lotteries--not their original name--sometimes I felt that the author was going for too cute and too inclusive all too often. Even the parents have odd but clever names--MaxiMum ...more
Shelley M.
I picked this book primarily because I love Emma Donoghue. I was thinking it was pretty different from her other books, but then I realized that all of her books are actually pretty different from each other. It’s about a family made up of 2 moms, 2 dads, 7 kids, and a ton of money, so they live this family-centered hippie life where all the kids direct their own educations and all the parents are always around. At first, I was like “This is my ideal growing up experience.” But as it went on, I ...more
Munro's Kids
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Emma Donoghue wrote a kid's book! With a HUGE premise. The Lotterys is this mish-mash of a family consisting of 4 parents (a man from the Yukon paired with a man from India and a Cherokee woman paired with a woman from the Caribbean), 7 kids from various corners of the world and several pets. But that's just the backdrop. What the story is really about is what happens when the Lotterys (the family won it big on the lottery just as their first child was being born) bring home a grandfather - a ve ...more
I listened to the audio version and loved it! For me, this isn't just a book about blending families or tolerance toward different groups and it really struck me as something quite special.

Ok, so, two male partners and two female partners who are such great friends they decide to live together and raise a house full of kids of all varieties. Luckily, they win the lottery and are able to get an amazing house and quit their jobs so they can home school their kids and have all sorts of great adven
Wendi Lee
I really wanted to love this book. I feel that middle grade books about diversity and diverse families are invaluable, and in this respect The Lotterys Plus One succeeds. Sumac is nine years old and has four parents and many siblings. They all live happily together until PopCorn’s ailing father comes for an extended visit. Grumps lives up to his nickname - he’s cantankerous, conservative, and set in his ways. He doesn’t treat any of the kids as his family, so Sumac decides that he isn’t her fami ...more
Maureen Ellsworth
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-s-ya
So much conversation....detracted from movement of the storyline. Really wonder what 4th-6th graders think of this book!
Lisa Llamrei
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: canadian
The Lotterys are a very large, very diverse family. When a grandfather is diagnosed with dementia, he comes to live with them. Nine-year-old Sumac tries to welcome "Grumps," but he is not only resistant, but also racist and homophobic. Sumac hatches a plot to find him another home.

The story is charming and the characters are well done. The complex interactions among a large group of people as they attempt to adjust are realistic.

I felt the diversity in the story was way overdone. There are four
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melissa Mcavoy
There is a lot to like in this book - there is diversity on many spectrums, but it's abundance is also its near fatal flaw. As a reader I felt assaulted by the charm, idiosyncrasy, quirks, , p.c. tweeness and didacticism. The kids are named after trees, the pets after rocks, the parents all have nicknames: Cardamom, Maximom Popcorn and Papadum...he's Indian! One mom was a lawyer: 'the fighting for justice kind' and the family doesn't have a car 'because they're way too green and it messes up the ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This kept almost feeling like a try-too-hard-to-be-similar-to-the-family-Fletcher-but-EVEN-MORE-BETTER-DIVERSE but it was just SO GOOD that I kept getting past that.

Except I really didn't like the amount of special family words. Especially the parent names. I get why they existed, and I do like the quirkiness of it, but I just didn't LIKE it. Nor did I like the tree names.

But as far as things not to like about a book, the names of the characters is pretty small. I really did like this book. (I
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Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of ...more

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The Lotterys (2 books)
  • The Lotterys More or Less
“Sometimes love is a pie. There just isn't enough to go around. Or OK, maybe there is enough love, but not enough time and attention, so you have to grab your piece, and then the pie smashes and you're fighting for crumbs...” 0 likes
“Luckily Sumac has extra Rakhi in her pocket and hands them out to anyone who wants one, because really, who cares so long as the threads get tied.” 0 likes
More quotes…