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Summary and book reviews of The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

The Higher Power of Lucky

by Susan Patron

The Higher Power of Lucky
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2006, 144 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2009, 144 pages

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Book Summary

Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has. But the consequences of her attempt are unexpected...

Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has.

It's all Brigitte's fault -- for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. Just as bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own -- and quick.

But she hadn't planned on a dust storm.

Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.

1. eavesdropping

Lucky Trimble crouched in a wedge of shade behind the Dumpster. Her ear near a hole in the paint-chipped wall of Hard Pan's Found Object Wind Chime Museum and Visitor Center, she listened as Short Sammy told the story of how he hit rock bottom. How he quit drinking and found his Higher Power. Short Sammy's story, of all the rock-bottom stories Lucky had heard at twelve-step anonymous meetings -- alcoholics, gamblers, smokers, and overeaters -- was still her favorite.

Sammy told of the day when he had drunk half a gallon of rum listening to Johnny Cash all morning in his parked '62 Cadillac, then fallen out of the car when he saw a rattlesnake on the passenger seat biting his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

Lucky balanced herself with a hand above the little hole that Short Sammy's voice was coming out of. With her other hand, she lifted the way-too-curly hair off her neck. She noticed two small black birds nearby, panting like dogs from the heat, their ...

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  • award image

    The John Newbery Medal
    2007

Reviews

Media Reviews
School Library Journal

This character-driven novel has an unusually complicated backstory, and a fair amount of exposition. Yet, its quirky cast and local color help to balance this fact, and the desert setting is fascinating.

Booklist - Francisca Goldsmith

Lucky is a true heroine, especially because she's not perfect: she does some cowardly things, but she takes pains to put them to rights.

Children's Literature

Although the studied small-town eccentricities of Hard Pan are too heavily underlined ...Lucky's mix of meanness and big-heartedness makes her a multi-dimensional character whose predicament is compelling.

Kirkus Reviews

Readers will gladly give themselves over to Patron, a master of light but sure characterization and closely observed detail. A small gem.

Reader Reviews
Myra C Sartana age 12

HP
I love the book. I just couldn't put it down. I read it 7 times already. The story was great and it deserved the Newbury Medal.

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