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Lucky Breaks


Lucky Breaks

written by Susan Patron, illustrated by Matt Phelan

At age 10 Lucky Trimble survived running away from home, finding her Higher Power and all the craziness the town of Hard Pan, California --- population 43 --- has to offer. All of this, though, is nothing compared to what awaits her at 11 years old. After all, eleven is much more intrepid than only ten. The more Lucky looks for intrepidness, the more things seem the same --- or do they?

Lucky’s best friend, Lincoln, is gaining recognition with his world-class knots. His latest obsession is safely hidden away for the upcoming International Guild of Knot Tyers contest that promises fame and the possibility of leaving Hard Pan --- and Lucky. Brigitte, Lucky’s legal guardian, has created her own niche in Hard Pan with a delightful French cuisine restaurant open for lunch on the weekends. Everyone has a piece of advice for Brigitte as she continues to adapt to the American way of life while staying true to herself. Miles --- newly certifiable genius --- is excited to share his sixth birthday celebration with Lucky, and he wants the whole town invited.

Lucky has come to the conclusion, however, that only a girl best friend will truly make her 11th year unforgettable. Enter Paloma Wellborne, niece of a geologist who happens to stop at Brigitte’s cafe for lunch on the way to surveying rock layers in the desert. Paloma and Lucky hit it off right away --- laughing hysterically at gifts for chickens, swimming lessons in a bucket, and other all-important girl conversations. When Paloma’s parents agree to let Paloma spend the weekend, Lucky makes plans to impress her with all the wonders Hard Pan has to offer. Lucky plots to uncover the mystery surrounding the rather large box sitting in Short Sammy’s yard, stay far away from Lincoln and Miles, bake over 50 cupcakes for the birthday celebration, and perhaps search for a long-lost broach hidden outside of Hard Pan.

While Lucky promised both Brigitte and Paloma’s parents that she would make good decisions, Lucky also promised herself that she would be intrepid from now on. Lucky doesn’t live up to her namesake, however, when things go unplanned and she puts both Paloma and herself in danger. Her fearlessness starts to break, and she is forced to make some tough decisions that impact others more than she had imagined.

Susan Patron created magic in her Newbery Award-winning THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, and fans will not be disappointed with this rewarding sequel. Matt Phelan once again sprinkles elegant drawings throughout that bring an added depth to the story. I appreciate that as this series grows so do all of the characters. They have learned from their mistakes, but they still continue to make new ones. I also enjoyed the ease in reading the book. You feel as though you’re tagging along with Lucky and are in the center of the action. It’s a fast read, but a very rewarding one. LUCKY BREAKS is the second book in the Lucky trilogy, and readers can expect a satisfying conclusion in the future.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on March 10, 2009

Lucky Breaks
written by Susan Patron, illustrated by Matt Phelan

  • Publication Date: March 10, 2009
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1416939989
  • ISBN-13: 9781416939986