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The Luckiest Girl

(First Love #2)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,793 ratings  ·  218 reviews
Shelley Latham can't wait to get to San Sebastian, where flowers bloom in November, oranges grow on the trees, and the sun shines almost every day. And once she's there, things get even better. In no time, she catches the attention of two boys: one, a good-looking basketball star, the other, an interesting, fun boy who likes journalism. Shelley feels like the luckiest girl ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published July 29th 2003 by Harper Teen (first published 1958)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,793 ratings  ·  218 reviews

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Stacia (the 2010 club)
Why don't I remember Beverly Cleary being such an a-hole with her writing?

Wait. Let me rephrase that before I ruin the name of one of the most beloved childrens' writers of all time.

Cleary did something with The Luckiest Girl that very few writers of fiction for younger readers do today : She REFUSED to coddle the reader by giving them everything they wanted. We were given a sweet-bitter-sweet resolution. Notice the use of sweet twice? This is because the sweet outweighed the bitter by a large
Wendy Darling
Our March discussion book is The Luckiest Girl! If you've never read Beverly Cleary's YA, this is an excellent place to start.

Discussion Date: Friday, March 28th
Hashtag: #tmgreadalong

Discussion takes place at The Midnight Garden on that date. Tweet along as you read on Twitter!

These retro reads are so wonderfully full of quiet drama–each story is about a girl in high school who is learning to be comfortable with herself, and in a way I feel as though these “contemporary” romances were the Sarah
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a young girl in the 1980s, I read this book and loved it. My mother was similar to Shelley's in many ways, and I absolutely identified with her, especially with things like the yellow slicker. I remember I desperately wanted to get a coat from a secondhand store like several of the girls in my class, and my mother was horrified. I know now that she was just sad because she had dreamed for me to never need anything secondhand and it was bewildering to her that I'd choose it---just as later it ...more
With regard to the second instalment of Beverly Cleary's First Love series, with The Luckiest Girl, I have certainly been considerably more involved with and interested in the story and the presented characters than with the first novel, than with Fifteen (which was just too almost exclusively boy/girl relationships oriented for my tastes, whereas in The Luckiest Girl, there seems to be a much better balance offered by the author of 1950s home and school life/culture and teenage love interests). ...more
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing

This was my top favorite novel when I was a teenager. I don't even remember how many times I read it; at least once a year and every year it meant something different to me as I went through boy friends and heart breaks. I can still recall my mental picture of the pink raincoat with the velvet collar. I don't think my library copy had the dust jacket with the original picture on it.

I identified so completely with Shelley being bored with her boyfriend, feeling misunderstood by her mother, making
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brenda by: The Midnight Garden March Read-along
This was a very touching, innocent look at first loves. I adored the quote "This was love, she knew not the love-for-keeps that would come later, but love that was real and true just the same." I loved how Beverly Cleary captures all those innocent, uneasy feelings of looking at a group of boys standing in the hall talking and knowing there is that "one boy" you want to walk over and start a conversation with, but at the same time all those nervous butterfly emotions are clouding your ability to ...more
This is another of those classics that I never had heard of before and that I missed originally on the Classics challenge at The Midnight Garden when I was the readalong book in March.

But wanting to complete the challenge and not fail it, I decided I needed to read a book that wasn't too long, and went for this one!

Shelley was a very sweet teenager but her mental processes being so taken up with boys did manage to annoy me on occasion. But the moment she started arguing with her mum about the sl
❂ Jennifer
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The Luckiest Girl holds up astonishing well given it's about 60 years old. It's a fun story about a girl with a helicopter mom who spends the school year in California with her mom's college roommate's family. It's well written and while dated, not as dated as other work by this author. I'll hang onto my copy and re-read it when I need a flashback to my teen years.

Full review:
Mar 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-read
The other day I remembered a random detail from this book and decided to track it down. I remember which school library I checked it out of, so I must have read it when I was in fifth grade. Reading it again as an adult was an interesting and delightful experience. I remembered more of the details than I would have thought, but of course now I identify with the mothers in the story much more than with the teenage protagonist.
Jun 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childhood
"Mother," I cried, "They just crowned me Queen of the May!"
The Luckiest Girl is a very light read about a girl called Shelley who spends one year (or two semesters, I think?) in orange county, staying with her cousins, at the age of sixteen. Basically, that is the premise and the plot of this book.

I read it as part of a YA reading challenge being hosted at The Midnight Garden. The idea is to read or reread some of the old YA classics, so they don't get forgotten. Beverly Cleary is clearly (ho ho) a big name in America, but I have never even heard of her
Jun 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Tards
Recommended to Shannon by: My mom
One word summarizes this book: Derp. That's about it. Absolutely horrible, I despised all the characters especially the main one (I can't even remember her name!). I wanted them all to die painful agonizing deaths. The storyline was dull and predictable. Take a word of advise and stay away from this crap!!
May 06, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anh Gordon
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I was 8, barely 3 years into living in America and just polishing up my reading skills in English, a librarian recommended a Ramona book to me. I just shrugged and took the book home, but since I grew up in the 70s and we didn’t have constant TV, cable, smart phones or what not, I ended up getting bored one afternoon with no friends to play with and thus I resorted to this Ramona book. Not long after this day, I found myself snubbing my friends in order to read more Ramona books, and then H ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is actually a really thoughtful book about mothers and daughters and growing up and living away from ones parents for the first time. Oh, and boys and what a relationship is based on but that's really only part of it. Well worth the trip back to the 1950's. I especially love the section where the modern teen wants to hear about her mom in the "olden days" which...really, really were at around 100 years ago. Still it all reads so honest that it has a timeless quality amid all the period deta ...more
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth
One of the few Cleary books I somehow didn't read growing up. Yes, the content is dated (but it was dated when I was a kid). But I think some of the messaging (about friction between mothers and daughters, the nature of change growing up and through life, and first love) is timeless. I found Shelley very grating at times but eventually liked her.
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
perfect little vacation novel <3
Katie Fitzgerald
This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.

Beverly Cleary has had a long and admirable career writing for children. She is the author of the famous Ramona Quimby series, as well as the recipient of the 1984 Newbery medal for Dear Mr. Henshaw, an epistolary novel about a boy's correspondence with his favorite author. But in addition to these well-known works, Beverly Cleary also wrote four young adult novels in the late 1950s and early 1960s that, though somewhat dated, are still in pr
Jul 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya-read, ya-romance
I had to read a Beverly Cleary book! I remember reading all of them in junior high (we had no middle schools). These stories of white girls and boys in "perfect" relationships could not help but attract a pre- or teenage girl. In this book, the child says "Mother"; mother stays home and provides for her family's needs' the parents wonder how they are going to handle the teen years of their children; there are rarely single children. Furthermore, in this particular book, the 16 yr. old girl goes ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This book is about a girl named Shelley. Shelley is counting down the days untill she finally can go to San Sebastian. When she arrives, she feels like the luckies girl on earth. She gets attention from guys, and she "falls in love with a specific. Everything seems to be going great with Shelley until...
I can connect Shelley to alot of girls in middle school. They feel like they are the center od attention and they have everything in the world... untill they realize what really matters in life
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
My sis-in-law recommended 4 books to me by Beverly Cleary written in the late 1950's as fun, good and clean. The ones she wants her daughter to read when she is a preteen/teen. This one is my favorite, it even made me cry, although I enjoyed all of them. Part of what I enjoyed was seeing how things have changed since the late 1950's (such as every girl knowing how to sew...most of the books contain at least some sewing) and how many things have stayed the same (the emotions and experiences of be ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Every summer I would check this book out from the library and re-read it. The crinkle of the library binding, the picture of Shelley in her pink raincoat on the cover, all told me that it was summer and that someday my girlish dreams of falling in love might come true.

Well, flash-forward a few years, kids, and wrinkles later, and I still love this book. Beverly Cleary can do almost no wrong, in my opinion.
Andrea R.
The Luckiest Girl, is so different from all of the books I have read. The scenery of the book is simply awesome. I love how he explains a very important and usual problem that most girls have, boys and parents.The book explains the main problems that girls have during their teenage years. I also like the way they spoke in the book because it was so different and unique. So you should really read it.
Oh Shelley, and her year of reinvention... With misadventures and predictable quirks, with colorfully realistic characters, and a sunny California setting, this is a fun (re)read that's both a step back in time and a reminder that life is life is life. I'm pretty sure Beverly Cleary is one of those timeless authors - her stories are not bound by time or society or etc. They're universal. The fashion may be different, but the normal, everyday struggles? They're the same today.
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It is fun to retread this book all over again after so many years. I love Beverly Cleary. Even though it was written 50 years ago the message is just as important today. Growing up is hard. Don't waste your time on the wrong boy.
Phil Gonzales
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book broke my rotten heart. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
One media genre I'm not a big fan of is romance, namely because not only is it oversaturated with stupid cliches and tropes that grind my gears to no end, none of the romance stuff I've seen has ever been really well written or well executed. Genuinely good romances are really hard to find these days, and with the fact that romance-themed media hasn't always had the best of luck in the originality department, that's kind of the rule rather than the exception. I can name a few romance-themed medi ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. 1960s-early 1970s teen book. Girl argues with her mother about a raincoat. [s] 6 32 Mar 29, 2015 03:26AM  
Thoughts? 3 19 Feb 26, 2012 10:04AM  

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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly At

Other books in the series

First Love (4 books)
  • Fifteen
  • Jean and Johnny
  • Sister of the Bride
“I guess that’s what growing up is. Saying good-by to a lot of things. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it isn’t. But it is all right.” 13 likes
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