High school junior Nick Brandt is intent on getting a girlfriend, and Eden Reiss is the one that he wants. He has exactly four semesters to get the girl, but when the phone rings on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday night, life for Nick and his parents will never be the same. What had been a seemingly idyllic home life has become something else entirely. But with this shake-up comes a newfound confidence for Nick; he's become a bolder version of himself, no longer afraid to question his parents, and no longer afraid to talk to Eden.
Alyssa B. Sheinmel has written a powerfully gripping story about family secrets, falling in love, and finding luck in unexpected--and sometimes unwelcome—circumstances.
OPINION: 5 STARS
The Short Version:
Emotional and insightful, The Lucky Kind is a beautifully written coming of age mixed with family problems and new romance. Nick is a good kid at heart, suddenly struggling to handle things in his life, who has had a crush on Eden for a long time but finally is determined to make something happen from it. Realistic throughout, Nick's struggles are relatable and woven perfectly for a quick but engaging read.
The Extended Version:
Nick is funny in subtle ways, and awkward in all the best ways, especially when it comes to try to get Eden's attention. From confidence issues to creating problems that aren't there, Nick borders on being a typical guy while still being incredibly realistic, amusing, and just a fantastically well done protagonist. The wrench his father throws at him early on has a huge effect on Nick, bleeding into other areas of his life quickly and lasting for a good chunk of the book. Though he's definitely an idiot at times and overreacting in some ways, just how deeply things are effecting him comes through strongly. His overall development is perfectly handled, happening at a smooth and believable manner.
Eden is sweet and perceptive, able to let things roll off her back while still deeply caring about the important things. She tests Nick in ways he needs but doesn't generally let him make excuses to her either. She comes off as aloof but has so much intensity about her once you get to know her, and is just such a well done character that is so real.
The book itself is a quick read, but packs a big punch and has plenty of emotional intensity to pull the reader in from the start. Watching Nick's struggle is heartbreaking in a way reminiscent of many adolescents, and Sheinmel has captured the entire things perfectly. His relationship with Eden is both emotional and physical, happening in a way that fleshes out their relationship. From make out sessions to straying hands, the two definitely are in lust with each other and yet, there is very clearly so much more between them that just makes the kisses and everything else that much sweeter. Sheinmel has written their relationship beautifully and believably, and captures the reader early with these two.
Nick's voice is strong and definitely a boy, while still holding an element to it that female readers will be able to relate to and enjoy. From small comic relief to melt your heart sweet, confused and frustrated to not caring about anything and happy, every emotion he experiences is woven throughout. The way he sees the world is clear at the start, then progresses in response to the things thrown at him, and Sheinmel has definitely done a wonderful job with this.
With just a few major plot points, this one is definitely character driven but with the great characters, it's easy to get immersed in this one and not come up for air until the last page. More intense in some parts than others, the coming of age aspect will speak to readers, while the issues angle of it ties things together and builds the characters boldly. The Lucky Kind has some fantastic messages, and is definitely a must read.
Source: ARC borrowed from friend
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 10, 2011