Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.
What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.
Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…
Title : Chasing Lucky
Author : Jenn Bennett
Format : eARC
Page Count : 416
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Children
Release Date : June 11, 2020 / November 10, 2020
Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
What Jenn Bennett does to my reading soul is simply the best, I can rely on her that her books will hit the spot, make me happy and smile. CHASING LUCKY was no exception and this story of old friends getting to know one another as teens was gorgeous. There was an eclectic story that had Bennett’s characteristic uniqueness and whit; I got wholly wrapped up in all of it.
Lucky was Josie’s best friend until she left town with her mom, age 12. Returning at age 17 was a different experience with Lucky 2.0, family issues, a mom who frankly was hard to fathom and the grandmother matriarch from hell. Lucky 2.0 though, was the kind of puzzle worth fathoming.
“Whoa,” Evie says, leaning over the counter to peer out the window with me. “Got to admit. Phantom cleans up real nice. He’s the male Medusa. Don’t look into his eyes. Might get your pregnant.”
If you’re familiar with Jenn Bennett’s male characters, you’ll be pleased to know that Lucky was one of her most excellent beta male creations. I loved him in every way; he was genuine, with personality in bucket loads. Josie’s journey to friendship and more with Lucky was worth every page turn.
Josie’s family relationships made for avid reading. The family was truly dysfunctional but not beyond help in most cases. Josie’s relationship with her mother was probably the most frustrating but I felt pretty annoyed with Evie too at moments. The family was able to make me laugh though.
“Be careful” is all Mom warns me very seriously. I’ve got this. It’s only grandmother. Not an actual weapon of war.
I read this book with a smile on my face some of the time. That’s all the recommendation that you need. Go forth and enjoy.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the early review copy.
Hollis’ 3 star review
I went into CHASING LUCKY with a little bit of trepidation as my last few forays with Bennett post-STARRY EYES haven’t been great. Some I liked ish, others I didn’t at all, so when the first 30% of this book was both not wow’ing me and also veering into not great, uncomfortable, directions? I was anticipating the worst.
But this did, eventually, level out for me.
This story does give off a bit of a STARRY EYES vibe in the sense that Josie and Lucky were friends as young’ins and then something happened to split them apart and now they are trying to reconnect and understand, and navigate, the whys of what happened. And also maybe what could happen if they got close again. I’m still not quite sure I feel we got any real closure, or explanation, as to why they couldn’t continue their friendship from afar but, honestly, that’s the least of my complaints (don’t worry, I really did like it, but yikes). Overall I do think there maybe was a bit of a pacing issue? Or maybe it’s just that we were thrown into a town, and a world, where there’s so much history and so many pre-existing characters from the backstory, that you’re kind of left playing catch up, and not always getting as much time spent on some things, giving them their due, and others have too much time spent on them or spent on nothing much at all? It did sorta give me the Stars Hollow vibe of Gilmore Girls, mixed in with a non-magical Practical Magic-esque family, so that gave it some feeling of familiarity but also the book was also nothing like those things, so. Samey but not?
One of the main components of this story deals with side-bar relationship between Josie’s cousin and an on-again-off-again boyfriend, who causes a lot of drama outside of his stalking and drunken nonsense, and that whole thing? It’s good to see it on page for the younger readers, to understand it’s not acceptable, but yikes how I hated it. So that’s a personal thing for me. I can handle uncomfortable subject matter, have read heaps of things worse than this, but it just rubbed me wrong. And it’s supposed to. Again, I don’t know. Maybe I just wasn’t in the right headspace to deal with it, because we also have lots of lies and miscommunications amongst all sorts of characters, and that ontop of the toxic BS? It was just a lot.
But there was also a bunch of good, too, a bunch of sweet, a bunch of gentle fun, mixed in there in the middle. We had a few big revelations that turned the tide for both the main character and her family and it was around that time where this story just really worked for me. I love that moment where you get the payoff and things come together. I don’t know that I quite liked Josie but I could feel for some of her baggage. And I really liked Lucky. And, as a pair, I really liked when they were sweet on each other and to each other; even when they bickered. Maybe especially then? This story is a bit strange in that so much happens and also not much, it’s both loud and kind of quiet. I did get to that like stage for CHASING LUCKY but this won’t be a favourite. But if not for that goodness, that sweetness, this wouldn’t be a three. So it was something of a close call.
If you’re a Bennett fan, and can withstand some of the messy bits within this read, I think you’ll be very happy. If you’ve yet to read this author and are looking for more good YA contemporary, you definitely need this Bennett on your radar. This might not the smoothest ride but you don’t have to go too far back into her backlist to find pure greatness.
** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **