My rating: 5 of 5 stars
OMG, I loved this book. By the time I hit page 175 I was on a roll and finished the last 110 pages just minutes ago.
Lucky Linderman is a fully fleshed out, resilient, feisty funny kid. He has borne the brunt of Nader McMillan’s bullying for a long time, and everyone, including Lucky, is in denial.
His dad, Vic, doesn’t know how to be a father because his own father was MIA in 1972 in Vietnam. His Mum, Lori, swims so much (to distract herself) Lucky calls her a squid. Both parents have ignored Nader’s abuse of their son for a disgraceful number of years – until one day Nader leaves a very obvious mark and Vic and Lori’s relationship is pushed to the brink. That day, Lucky and Lori leave for a few weeks in Arizona with Lori’s brother, Dave, and Dave’s wife Jodi.
While in Arizona Lucky has vivid dreams where he speaks to his MIA grandfather, and attempts to rescue him and bring him home. At the same time, mentally unstable Jodi prods and pokes Lucky with questions and accusations, attempting to slot him into some sort of “troubled youth” box. Uncle Dave appears to be the Dad Lucky has craved – until he learns a secret about him that changes his perception. Bit by bit, Lucky starts to confront the awful parts of his life and along the way we see his fantastic dry sense of humour, and also feel his pain. Meeting Ginny, a girl he sees at church with his aunt and uncle, is a turning point for Lucky. She is someone whose life has some parallels with his. Both of them are allowing other people to determine their destiny. Ginny has a plan to change that – and Lucky becomes part of the support network that allows her to do so.
Some of this book is confronting – especially for anyone who hasn’t been bullied before. For those of us who have, we recognise ourselves in Lucky and we are absolutely rooting for him all the way as he takes his life back and gives himself control over what happens to him.
Suitable for ages 14 and up