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The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
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The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  2,807 ratings  ·  511 reviews
The last thing Harry "Dit" Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Proper -talking, brainy Emma doesn't play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Tog ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 22nd 2009 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published January 9th 2009)
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Madelyn Watson The setting is in a small town in the south.

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4.12  · 
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 ·  2,807 ratings  ·  511 reviews

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I rather enjoyed this tween historical, set in Alabama, 1919, told with southern fried aplomb and sass, and with a surprising bit of depth. At its core, The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had is a story of friendship. A multifaceted friendship of diversity between a boy and a girl - white and black, an Alabamian and Bostonian. It's also a story of small town life, family, baseball, racial prejudices and volatility, and a bit of WWI in the background.

"[M]y mama had a rule - we didn't have to like anyone,
Mar 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile, fiction
Set in Moundville, Alabama in 1917 this charming juvenile novel was based on the author's grandfather's handwritten memoir.

Folks who didn't grow up in the South may not "buy" that children of different races played together and often became friends, and Levine's story captures perfectly the truth that among White Southerners there was (and still is) a vast difference between those who were (and are) unencumbered by prejudice, those who hold their prejudice inside and allow graciousness and good
Candy Sparks
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
I loved this book so much. It really shows true friendship when friendships of that type was not allowed in 1918. I also love that kids were just kids and there were no electronics that took their time away from nature. I smiled and almost cried. It was just that good. GO NOW AND READ IT!

May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!!!!!!
Recommended to Alexis by: Me, myself, and I!
I AM NOT LYING ONE LITTLE BIT ABOUT THIS BOOK! I THOUGHT I WOULDN'T LIKE IT THAT MUCH, BUT I THOUGHT,'I'LL GIVE IT A SHOT.' It is the BEST BOOK i have ever READ! I AM NOT LYING! It is my new favorite book! It is set in the 1900's like the 1915's-1917's, and it was at a time when blacks and whites did not hang out with eachother. A boy named Dit (I know weird name) meets a "negra" which is what they called them, named Emma, and they become BEST friends. They are about 12 years old, and it tells a ...more
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I’ve been wrong before. Oh heck, if I’m being real honest, I’ve been wrong a lot. But I ain’t never been so wrong as I was about Emma Walker. When she first came to town, I thought she was the worst piece of bad luck I’d had since falling in the outhouse on my birthday.”

It’s the summer of 1917 in Moundville, Alabama. Harry “Dit” Sims can’t wait for the new postmaster Mr. Walker to arrive on the train from Boston with his family. He’s excited because he’s heard Mr. Walker has a twelve year old s
Barb Middleton
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
I read this book last week and already can't remember the plot that well. I liked the book but obviously it was a forgettable. The story was entertaining if unbelievable. I think the author nails it better in "Lions of Little Rock," with a stronger emotional pull. Dit Sims lives in Alabama in 1917 with so many brothers and sisters, his dad forgets his name. When the new Post Master comes to town with his family, Dit becomes friends with their daughter, Emma. She's black and he's white. Problems ...more
What a fabulous book! I was hooked by the first paragraph. Dit's voice is so strong in this book, I can't help completely loving him and loving watching his bit of coming of age. I loved seeing Emma through his eyes, as well as everything else. I loved the atmosphere I felt from the book. Amazing writing. Beautiful story complete with humor, honesty, innocence, knowledge, right v. wrong, tragedy, fear, courage, and much more. Knowing this is based on the author's grandfather's experiences, and I ...more
Abigail S
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing I like it a lot and I think girls and boys my age, older or maybe a year or two younger would like this book. this book The best bad luck I've ever had is about a boy named Dit and a girl named Emma and she had darker skin. This book was written with the setting being Moundville Alabama in 1917. The people in Moundville were surprised by there color of the new post-master families skin while Dit focused more on that Emma was a girl and he was told there was gonna be a boy h ...more
Some book are just good literature and do not need the adjectival clause "young adult"; examples are The Book Thief and The Bog Child. Some probably need the clause but are still excellent literature; examples would be Holes or The Keeper. This book fits in neither category but is just typical young adult literature, mostly written in that over excited slangy style that we adults seem to think attracts young adults. The book is saved by having an interesting topic - racism in Alabama in about 19 ...more
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This is almost a five star book for me. It was just so so good. Historical fiction at it's finest.
Abdelhamid Fenniche
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The 1

This story takes place somewhere in the South of the United States. It's in a rural town called Moundville. It's called mound ville because they are Indian mounds. It's a small town where not a lot happens. The story begins in June 1917. There is al lot os racism because the people who live there don't like the new black family that moves to the town. When the new family arrived " It got real quiet for a moment. Everyone stared a Mr. Walker. ". This shows racism in a small town at the begin
Another YALSA Amazing Audiobooks pick. Excellent narration by Kirby Heyborne.

I would probably choose to shelve this one in J rather than in YA, because there is really no questionable content, and the narrator is 12. That being said, this was a wonderful book that could be enjoyed by anyone from about fourth grade on up.

Dit Sims meets Emma Walker when she arrives in town as the new postmaster's daughter. Dit has been told that the new postmaster has a twelve-year-old son, so he is disappointed
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you would like to read a book about two people that accidentally become friends then you should read this book. The genre is realistic fiction, this book is good because it was about two friends but nobody in their town approved of their friendship because of the color of their skin.This book takes place in 1917 in the town of Moundville.

Dit didn't like the new postman's daughter, Emma Walker, because she was black, rich and she seemed stuck up. But slowly they became friends and were togethe
Oct 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book could use a makeover. Both the title and the cover (paperback edition) led me to believe that I was about to read a humorous, light-hearted middle grade adventure. It was a nice surprise that this turned out to be such a complex story- I just don't think the packaging is doing it a justice. This is a coming-of-age story about a young white boy, Dit, in rural Alabama who is disappointed when Emma, a black girl from Boston, moves in next door (apparently she is the 'bad luck' referenced ...more
Jul 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
In Moundville, AL in 1917, Harry Otis (Dit) Sims is one of 10 children in his family. He's frustrated that he can't seem to get his parents' attention, and he especially wants his father's approval. Dit is good at baseball and hunting with the "flip it" slingshot he made to shoot rocks. His best friend, Chip, is the mayor's son. When the town gets a new postmaster, Dit has high hopes that he'll have a son, but instead when the Walkers arrive by train from Boston, their only child is a girl about ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
I am always little conflicted when reviewing children's books. I generally have two opinions: my adult response and my "what-I-think-kids-will-think" response.

For children, the author very successfully presented the topic of race relations. The language was concise, accessible, and the story intriguing. The main character, Dit, was well developed. I liked that he didn't always make the right choice. I think kids will really respond to him and injustice presented in the plot.

On the flip (and adul
Beth Pearson
Jan 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
This quick read (maybe 3-4 hours?) was great. I kind of wanted to give it 5 stars, but the "It was amazing" part scared me. I decided maybe I was thinking 5 stars simply because I've read some crappy books lately. : ) Either way, I very much enjoyed it.

Apparently, I really like stories of race interactions as I've read a lot dealing with black vs. white. Add the South to it and place it before segregation ended and I really, really am interested to see what happens. The theory of it all is fasc
Katie B.
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to try reading more Historical-Fiction Books
This book kept me entertained throughout most of the story. There were a couple parts that seemed to just drag me along. I really thought this was a good book, but not 5 star worthy. The way it was written did make me amazed because I had to imagine all the research that Kristen Levine did to make this possible. I loved the book, it kept me entertained, and I would definitely recommend it to a friend. Now, I was not into Historical-Fiction books at all when I first started reading it. But now th ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. It seems that with out intending to I keep picking up books that are set in the civil right era. And I am learning that I really love books in that genre. Just like my love for books set during WWII, I think I love reading books where the oppressed people overcome and people learn love and tolerance.

I especially love reading civil rights books from a child's perspective because children are so pure and non judgmental.

This book was very good. I am not sure if I like it or Lions
Emma Walker moves to Moundville, Alabama, in 1917, and Harry "Dit" Sims' life is changed forever as he begins to see the world in more than black and white.

4 1/2 stars. I liked Levine's The Lions of Little Rock , which is set in the early days of the civil rights movement, more - but this one is fabulous too. Dit's voice is wonderful - read by Kirby Heybourne in the audio version - and I adored Emma.
Feb 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is some really good YA fiction - great dialogue with precocious, engaging characters - but with some heavy themes of race and violence (so best for 7th grade and up).

Some of the scenes felt a bit forced (and Dit and Emma's ages and genders made some of the scenes feel further out of time and place), but I did enjoy how much Dit grew as a result of his friendship with Emma. I really enjoyed how Levine dealt with the racism issues.

Ruth Ann
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Things seem to go wrong for Dit too often during 1917. And, what's worse, he's doing things to get himself in trouble. His growing friendship with the new kid in town takes him on many adventures and helps him realize the value in honesty and true justice during a time of harsh racism and inequality.
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this out loud to my younger boys. The friendship between Dit and Emma was sweet and I loved Dit for standing up for her. There are difficult situations which were handled well. The chapters were short so we could read even when we only had a few minutes. I read it with a southern drawl. :) It just seemed like the voice it was written in. I think we're all glad we read it!
Ava LaPlant
Jun 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a great book. It is a great example of a story of a book that says that 'Friendship can come in all different colors. Dit did not listen to anyone who said that he should not be friends with Emma because of the color of her skin. I would read it again.
Apr 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
I can't really express my feelings about this book because in some parts I was mad or sad or happy, so this book is kinda bumpy with feelings.
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was so good! It was about two kids with different races becoming friends. It reminds me a lot of Lions of Little Rock.
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a terrific story. The characters were engaging and the story line really drew me in.
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Listened to this on audio. Great historical fiction story. Some tough issues but handled well. Really enjoyed the friendship between the two children.
Mar 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Slow to start but the characters were so endearing it became a page turner.
Valerie Campbell Ackroyd
I have always liked morality tales and fables. By manipulating reality, ultimate truths are revealed. The key aspect of reading such works of fiction, however, is that I suspend any expectation that they should be real, much as I would wish that they were real. Carpets really don't fly, foxes don't speak wisdom in a human voice and villains don't always get destroyed by the forces of good.

It is in this spirit that I review this book. Not marketed as a fairytale or fable, but in the spirit of a k
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