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Lucky for Good

Review

Lucky for Good

Lucky Trimble should know better than to rest on her laurels. Change (and not always for the better) has been the theme of her life. So it's not really a huge surprise that just when she's settled down to a comfortable existence in the tiny desert town of Hard Pan (pop. 43), everything is about to change again. Lucky loves the life she's carved out for herself, helping her adoptive mother Brigitte at her French restaurant, spending time with her friends, and keeping up with the lives of Hard Pan's other residents. She's happy and content, feelings that are a little unexpected for her.

That is, until some unexpected visitors threaten to shake up Lucky's whole life --- and not necessarily in a good way. First is Justine, the mother of Lucky's young friend, Miles. Justine has been in jail for years, but she's out now and eager to renew her relationship with Miles. She's found religion in prison, and her incessant testifying makes both Lucky and Miles a little uneasy.

And then there's the county health inspector with the unfortunate name of Stu Burping. He has whipped out Regulation 1849 --- no commercial cooking from a residence --- a rule that threatens to shut down Brigitte's restaurant for good. Not only that, but Stu's nephew Ollie is a cocky skater who seems to delight in tormenting Lucky and her friends.

Can the quirky residents of Hard Pan come together to solve Brigitte's bureaucratic dilemmas? Can Lucky come to terms with the surprisingly changing nature of her relationship with her best friend, Lincoln? And how can her Higher Power help her cope with these changes and many others?

Near the end of LUCKY FOR GOOD, Lucky makes a family tree that might seem unconventional, but that makes perfect sense for the life and love she's created and found for herself in Hard Pan: "In Lucky's opinion a family tree should have the family of your blood and the family of your heart and the family of your secret deep-inside self." Lucky's "family" might not look like the one in storybooks, but neither does anyone else's in Hard Pan.

As in her previous two books about Lucky, Susan Patron doesn't shy away from issues of faith and doubt, and LUCKY FOR GOOD is no exception. Lucky's Higher Power is positioned as an alternative to Justine's more traditional form of belief, and her exploration of spiritual matters is a believable aspect of her larger curiosity, inquisitiveness and courage.

LUCKY FOR GOOD is a rambling tale, by design, packed with the kind of stories and anecdotes you can imagine the folksy residents of Hard Pan telling each other over some of Brigitte's delicious French food. These diversions don't distract from the novel's overall narrative, which winds up with Lucky embracing change ("She liked the way life was always changing; she felt a kind of zinging excitement about it") and ready to step bravely into the next chapter of her life.

Reviewed by Norah Piehl on August 9, 2011

Lucky for Good
by Susan Patron

  • Publication Date: August 7, 2012
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416990593
  • ISBN-13: 9781416990598