by Susan Patron
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Meet Lucky, a ten-year-old girl living in Hard Pan, California, population 43. Her mother died when she was eight and her father, who had long been out of the picture, did not want to raise her, so he found her a guardian: his first wife, a French woman named Brigitte. Life in Hard Pan isn’t easy for anyone, and Lucky becomes convinced that Brigitte is about to bolt, especially when she finds Brigitte’s suitcase and passport out and ready. It isn’t until Lucky runs away that she finds out what’s really going on.
The other residents of Hard Pan have their own problems, and Lucky tells us the story she hears while spying on the AA meeting of when Short Sammy hit rock bottom, the details of which may upset more sensitive readers. I did like the description of Lucky’s “meanness gland,” which makes her be mean to a small hanger-on named Miles (whose mother, it turns out, is in jail). I also look forward to hearing more from Lucky’s best friend, Lincoln, in the other books in the series (there are two as of now: Lucky Breaks and Lucky for Good).