Expected publication: July 25th 2017 by Scholastic
Format read: ARC via publisher
Maddie's not impulsive. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment -- She wins! In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust. Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret? With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.
While I've loved some of her books more than others, Lucky in Love will definitely find a permanent place in my: "I will never part with this book", shelf. Because West has unsurprisingly knocked it out of the park, once again. Maddie's journey from someone who is struggling with plenty of her life, to someone who suddenly has every opportunity in the world open to her, is fun, romantic and just want you need for a summer read.
West is careful to show Maddie's journey that comes with winning in a realistic light; there is the splurge spending and the poor planning, that would naturally come with someone so young getting the money. While West is careful to acknowledge Maddie's mistakes, it's expressed in a way that reinforces that people can learn from their mistakes, if they try. This is contrasted with a secondary journey of a character who struggles with that same degree of learning, and it's a nice balance to Maddie's overall arc.
Outside of Maddie's core journey, her burgeoning with Seth Nguyen, turned out to be one of the sparkling gems of the novel. West includes a diverse relationship realistically and effortlessly, while also dually balancing some of the challenges that would be faced by someone like Seth, including people treating him differently simply based on his appearance. It's more of what we need in YA, and it doesn't hurt that Seth is also smart, charming and flawed - providing a nice counterbalance to Maddie's perfectionist tendencies.
As someone who is originally from Orange County and used to take a bus through Santa Ana daily, West's setting and nods to the city, were also much appreciated.
This review would also be remiss in not bringing up Jennifer E. Smith's Windfall, as there will inevitably be comparisons between the two, due to the overall plots of both novels. Both stories are unique, and add to the question of just how getting everything you want, may not necessarily be the reward it may initially appear to be. It's important mentioning that both books are not only fantastic, but add unique takes to the concept, which only be garnered by reading. So most definitely buy both, and your shelves will be all the richer - pun intended - for it.
All in all, Lucky in Love is a savvy, candid look at what it means to win the lottery, and to have all of your problems seemingly solved in one fell swoop. West's characters sparkle with heart, wit and honesty, and readers will feel a sense of kinship with Maddie, as she figures out the best way to use her newfound resources to improve lives, but to also make her own dreams come true. West's reinforcement of the importance of continuing to strive to be the best part of yourself especially with new resources, makes this book a winner.
Highly recommend, full stop.
About the author:
Kasie West is the author of several YA novels, including The Distance Between Us, On the Fence, The Fill-in Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, Lucky in Love, and By Your Side. Her books have been named as ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers and as YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. Kasie lives in Fresno, California with her family, and you can visit her online at www.kasiewest.com.