Title: Just My Luck
Author: Cammie McGovern
Release Date: February 23
Source: HarperCollins on Edelweiss (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Fourth grade is not going at all how Benny Barrows hoped. He hasn’t found a new best friend. He’s still not a great bike rider—even though his brother George, who’s autistic, can do tricks. And worst of all, he worries his dad’s recent accident might be all his fault. Benny tries to take his mom’s advice and focus on helping others, and to take things one step at a time. But when his dad ends up in the hospital again, Benny doesn’t know how he and his family will overcome all the bad luck that life has thrown their way.
Just My Luck is a deeply moving and rewarding novel about a down-on-his-luck boy whose caring heart ultimately helps him find the strength to cope with tragedy and realize how much he truly has to offer his friends and family. (Source: Goodreads)
Things aren’t going the way Benny planned this year. First his dad got hurt in the summer and had a brain aneurysm, his best friend moved away, and then he got the teacher he wanted but he just isn’t as great as Benny heard, so when the school starts to reward people for being nice and Benny doesn’t get any rewards, he starts to worry that people just don’t notice or remember him at all. On top of that he’s having trouble dealing with his autistic older brother. Benny doesn’t know what to do.
I really rather enjoyed Just My Luck despite having a little bit of trouble getting the ball rolling with it. I thought the story was sweet and moving, with a really relatable lead character and a charming cast of characters filling out his world. I did find the book a little too easy, but I’m reading this at age 24 so of course it would be too easy for me, I guess it just made the slowness of the start a little harder to deal with. Overall I think it’s a great MG debut for McGovern though.
Benny is a sweet kid, he’s patient and kind with his brothers, he loves his family and feels responsible for his father’s aneurysm even though he isn’t to blame. He’s a lovable kid and you really feel for him as you watch him be mistreated by his friends and ignored by the people around him at school. I thought he was charming and sweet, with a really wonderful and interesting hobby – making Lego movies! What Benny really brings to this book is the heart, through him we learn to love everyone else because Benny sees such good things in the people around him and he makes the people he meets better people.
Surrounding Benny is this amazing set of characters. His father is a loving man whose accident comes at an inconvenient time as he tries to prevent Benny from being afraid of failures, for a lot of the book he is bed bound and we don’t see too much of him but after his second accident you see the spark of life in him that really makes him such a wonderful father. Benny’s oldest brother and mother are sweet and supportive towards Benny. His friends at school, especially Olga, are really interesting and caring people who grow through their experiences with Benny. Finally Benny’s older brother, George, is this amazingly understand person who really helps Benn grow to be as kind and giving as he is, it’s through George that we see Benny at his absolute best.
The characters of this book are really the heart, the plot, largely following Benny’s attempts to get recognition for being nice, fall to the wayside as we see Benny love and care for his family throughout the book. I found it really moving and I loved the way that McGovern highlights how we need to try harder to understand and care for people who have autism without shoving it down your throat, you internalized it without needing it to be spelled out
I adored this book and think it was a perfect transition from YA to MG for McGovern. I highly recommend it.