Saturday, May 24, 2008

Book Review: The Higher Power of Lucky/ Newbery Medal Winner 2007

Author: Susan Patron
Hardcover: 134 pages
Ages: 8 to 12 years
Illustrated by: Matt Phelan
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
An Imprint of Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 13: 978-1-4169-0194-5
ISBN: 10: 1-4169-01949-9

Lucky Trimble is ten years old and lives in the desert town of Hard Pan. CA (pop 43) with her dog, HMS Beagle and her French guardian, Brigitte. Lucky spends her spare time eavesdropping on twelve-step programs like Alcoholic Anonymous and smokers anonymous where she learns about a higher power that helps people when they hit rock-bottom.

Lucky yearns to find her own higher power that will help her stop Brigitte from going back to France and putting her into an orphanage. At least that is the conclusion Lucky has jumped too. Lucky is tenacious and vulnerable and has a tendency to jump to conclusions. But first she needs to find her higher power because she knows her rock-bottom will be here soon.

Lucky is suspicious that Brigitte is tired of taking care of her and wants to leave Hard Pan and go back to France. Lucky begins to pile up evidence that Brigitte will leave any day now. This gives Lucky a sense of urgency to hurry and run away before Brigitte has a chance to leave. Even the warnings of an approaching dust storm will not deter Lucky from her destiny with her higher power.

This is a complex story with a lot of back story but Patron makes her characters charming. The young characters seem to be older but they are all dealing with unusual conditions forcing them to accept the harshness of life earlier than most. Lucky’s best friend Lincoln Clinton Carter Kennedy has a knot tying fetish and five year old Miles who lives down the street is an orphan addicted to cookies and Lucky has not yet come to terms with the death of her mother or abandonment by her father.

About the Author:Susan Patron is also the author of Maybe Yes, Maybe No, Maybe Maybe (an ALA Notable Book, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, 1993 Parent’s Choice Award and a New York Public Library Children's Book List selection) and four picture books. She has spent most of her life at the Los Angeles Public Library, both as a child and an adult. She is currently their Juvenile Materials Collection Development Manager.
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