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Lucky Breaks

(The Hard Pan Trilogy #2)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  829 ratings  ·  200 reviews
"Eleven is much more intrepid than only ten."

On the eve of her eleventh birthday, Lucky wants to let loose and become intrepid; she's ready for life to change. But Hard Pan (population 43) drones on like it always has: Lincoln all tied up in knotty matters, Miles newly diagnosed as a genius but as needy as ever, Brigitte running her Café and trying to figure out what it
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2009)
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[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 competitio
Feb 25, 2010 rated it liked it
In her first companion novel to the Newbery Medal-winning The Higher Power of Lucky, author Susan Patron has managed to do something rare and quite beautiful: evoke all of the charm stitched into the seams of the original while tackling issues old and new that force Lucky to stretch her heart and mind to their fullest capacity.

Susan Patron is an excellent, wonderfully sensitive writer, capturing with grace and nuanced skill the moods and conversations of the kids that populate Lucky Breaks. Sh
Apr 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle grade readers
This is the second book in The Hard Pan Trilogy by Susan Patron. I read the first book in the series, The Higher Power of Lucky, many years ago so I had to refresh my memory about the plot.

I really enjoyed listening to Cassandra Campbell narrate the story on audiobook, but I have to admit that Lucky is not a very sympathetic character for most of this story. In fact, she was very irritating and whiny.

Nevertheless, the story ends on a good note and I am looking forward to listening to the final s
Brooke Shirts
Jul 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Another return to Lucky Trimble and the eccentric inhabitants of Hard Pan, California. Like its predecessor, The Higher Power of Lucky, it moves at a leisurely pace, low on plot and high on minute observations of inner turmoil. Lucky gets a new best friend, and worries that her other best friend, Lincoln, is growing apart from her. The solution? Sabotage.

Yeah. I was there to read about it, and I still can't quite figure out why Lucky does the things she does. This is a book about the desire to b
The Library Lady
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
I noticed she made sure to get the word "scrotum" in again. Hee, hee, hee....

Update: In fact, she got it in twice!
I enjoyed this, but I found the pacing a bit off--it needed something more before the final chapter. I know this is now part of a planned trilogy and it feels a little as if she was hurrying to finish this one and move on to the third book.

BTW, I don't find Lucky's thoughts or language unusually advanced for her age--she sounds a lot like my own thoughtful almost 10 year old. Besides
"The beauty of Patron’s 'Lucky' books thus far, is while connections and meaning can be found in the stories, they are still really character-driven and encapsulated ideas are held in balance. Lucky is eleven and this is what is going on in her world. Character-driven plots are ever dangerous, of course, because if the reader finds none of the characters or their struggles endearing… Yet, many have responded to these novels, feel invested in one or more of the characters. Patron has written some ...more
Jul 27, 2009 rated it liked it
What do you do when you are about to be eleven, you live in small town, and all you want to be is intrepid? In author Susan Patron’s follow-up to The Higher Power of Lucky, we meet again with the day-dreaming girl named Lucky, one of the forty-three individuals who inhabit the small California town of Hard Pan. Like most children, ten-year-old Lucky believes that her life will be more exciting when she turns one year older. But when exciting things don’t happen as quickly on their own for Lucky ...more
Apr 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-fiction
Eh. I just do not see what the Newbery committee sees.

I like Lucky. I like the relationship between Lucky and Paloma, and of course, Brigitte is always solid. But the star of this book, to me, was Lincoln. He was kind, loyal, trustworthy, mature, and incredibly patient with Lucky, who was downright mean to him.

Oh--and the burro. He rocked.

My major problem with this book is a picky thing, something that drove me nuts. It was Patron's continual referencing to Lucky's glands: The meanness gland in
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
Does every outstanding children's book have to have a sequel or be written into a series? I was a little disappointed that Patron went this route. There is nothing wrong with Lucky Breaks, but I can't help but compare it to Higher Power of Lucky. In comparison, this volume seems a little formulaic and lackluster. Lucky gets into some hijinks, the word scrotum is uttered, and then all is well in the land of Hard Pan. The End.
Will I keep reading Lucky books? Probably. But only to find out what hap
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kidlit
As is so often the case, I'd rather leave characters I liked just as I left them. Continuing the story of Lucky, Lincoln, Brigitte, and Miles feels forced here, as does the continuing referral to the bitten dog.

Lucky decides it's time for a new best friend when Lincoln's knot tying just might win him a trip away from her to spend a year in England. New character Paloma is likeable enough, but the story lacked the character development and sincerity of the first book. I suspect these characters
Sheela Word
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wonderful sequel to the "The Higher Power of Lucky." Lucky makes a new friend...a girl...but what can she do to keep Lincoln and Miles out of the picture? The emotional stakes are not as high as in the first book (Brigitte is here to stay), but Lucky manages to create some serious trouble for herself. I love "Hard Pan," as improbable as it is, and I love a girl protagonist who models herself after Charles Darwin. My daughter, age 10, adores this series too.
Theresa Milstein
Lucky is a year older, but not a year wiser. She becomes outright mean. Instead of character growth, she regressed. In the previous book, her running away felt authentic. This time, her meltdown was self-inflicted and selfish. When people come for the rescue, she scorns. It's difficult to know why people befriend her when she's so selfish. Pretty words too late don't erase bad behavior.

Though there's charm and some acute observations, this fell flat for me.
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It was amazing!
May 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youngfolk
This doesn't live up to the first. It reminded me of books I read in grade school, though, which was good.
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Review of all three books in the 'Hard Pan Trilogy'

Lucky Trimble lives in Hard Pan, California, in a canned-ham bedroom attached to a trailer. She lives with Brigitte, who is not her mother but her biological father's French ex-wife. Brigitte came to Hard Pan all the way from France because Lucky's father asked her to, after Lucky's mother went out into the desert after a storm and was struck dead by lightening.

So for now Lucky lives with Brigitte, who calls her 'petite puce' which sounds l
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great follow up to "The Higher Power of Lucky" which won the Newberry Medal. I hadn't read the first book in several years, but just a few pages in and I was back in the little desert town. This book almost makes me want to move to a small town in the middle of nowhere. I love the community Patron describes and the inner world of Lucky.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lucky is an endearing character wrestling within herself ~ pretty mature for an almost 11 year old. dear story
Isabel Haber
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I felt less lost in Lucky's second story. The plot made a bit more sense to me, because it felt like the went more into why she did what she did.
Stephanie Vogel
Oct 13, 2018 rated it liked it
To be clear, I give Lucky a 5 star rating for being a cool character.

The book though, not nearly as gripping as the first.

Sometimes one is enough.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading the further adventures of Lucky Trimble and other characters of Hard Pan, California.
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've read some of the reviews. Many of you wrote beautifully. But I almost think you put more into the reviews than the author into the book.
All I will say is, it was alright.
Mrs. M
Oct 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked the second book better than the first, a bit less random.
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

This second book in this trilogy is, in my opinion, better than the first one that won the Newbery. While The Higher Power of Lucky was quite well-written, it involved a lot of backstory that took time to build, and the entire plot was basically an internal struggle within Lucky's own mind. This book, Lucky Breaks, with its addition of newcomer Paloma, and her family, takes a more traditional path, and while the writing style doesn't deviate
Jason Pettus
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children
(I now maintain a blog just for my kid-lit reviews. Find it at .)

A friend has convinced me to try my hand this year for the first time at writing 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 a stack of existing books that have been recommended to me. This is the 2009 sequel to Susan Patron's The Higher Power of Lucky, winner of the 2006 Newbery Award (and which
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

LUCKY BREAKS is the second book in Susan Patron's THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY trilogy. It continues the story of Lucky, who lives in the middle of the desert in a tiny town called Hard Pan.

Lucky is about to turn eleven, and she can hardly wait. She is sure that being eleven will cause her life to be much more exciting than being ten. After all, being eleven is at "the door of becoming a teenager."

Not a whole lot has changed in Lucky's
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
2 1/2 stars

As posted on Outside of a Dog:

I’ll admit to not being much of a fan of Susan Patron’s Newbery winning The Higher Power of Lucky. It wasn’t that I disliked the book, but simply looked at it after its win and said, “What’s special? What’s distinguished?” As a librarian, I see the book sit on the shelf mostly, occasionally checked out by teachers or college students. For these reasons, I wasn’t in a hurry to pick up the sequel, Lucky Breaks. But a recent challenge I set myself found me p
Madigan Mirza
Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In this wonderful sequel to The Higher Power of Lucky, we return to the dusty micro-town of Hard Pan, California. Lucky's meandering thoughts and careful appreciation of little details is explored in a quirky and whimsical fashion. She sees eleven as being intrepid and cherishes the "secret 11" in the straps of her new training bra. At eleven years of age, she is clearly looking forward to growing up, wearing make-up and other such things that are just ahead of her... yet she is still happy to n ...more
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This past weekend, I finished Lucky Breaks in ARC form and my happiness glands and sadness glands are both still pumping. Sequels are generally to be approached with trepidation but not in this case. Susan Patron has delivered a story that I think sings even more beautifully than The Higher Power of Lucky. Don't get me wrong: I adored that book (so much so, in fact, that I didn't even register "the word" on page 1 in first reading). Susan tells the stories of the hardscrabble folks of Hardpan wi ...more
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Lucky returns after her success in The Higher Power of Lucky, with her most appealing character traits. Her life in Hard Pan, CA, a miniscule settlement in the Mojave Desert, proves to be a rich and enjoyable locale for taking in her almost-eleven-year-old mind-set. She chooses Darwin as a role model, and sets about being intrepid without always being appropriately thoughtful about where this pursuit might lead. Her two local friends, contemporary knot-tyer Lincoln and gifted five year Miles are ...more
Apr 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
A heartwarming story, centered on the character of Lucky, who's about to turn 11. She and the younger Miles are going to have a big birthday celebration with all the residents of their desert town of Hard Pan (population 43). The town may be small, but it's full of Old Desert Rat Characters, and lots of love. Lucky's still trying to figure out who she is and how she feels about life. When the 'ologists arrive to do their scientific work, and they bring along a girl of Lucky's age, she realizes s ...more
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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

Other books in the series

The Hard Pan Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Higher Power of Lucky (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #1)
  • Lucky for Good (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #3)
“When you are sad, your heart pumps the tragedy all through your body and fills your mind with the story of your suffering, and you tell that story to yourself over and over.” 8 likes
“Adults have big, big wishes that we do not expect to come true. That is why we need so many more candles on our cakes.” 4 likes
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