Author: A.S. King
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Blurb: Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.
But Lucky has a secret--one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos--the prison his grandfather couldn't escape--where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It's dangerous and wild, and it's a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?
Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King's smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it.
Me: This was such a compelling book that left me utterly speechless. I cried. I laughed. I learned.
The Ups: Lucky's journey to standing up to his bully, his family, and himself is so achingly relatable and admirable.
I think this book really mirrors modern society, where everyone has something hidden inside them, where nothing is perfect, where we blame the other person. It's a story of multiple flawed characters all coming together and realizing that they themselves have to face the problem and deal with it.
There was something so real about all of the characters. So saddening, yet uplifting. His dad, who still hasn't gotten over his father's death, his mother, who's never stood up for herself, Aunt Jodi, addicted to drugs and evading the truth, Uncle Dave, a seemingly good man with a dark reputation. Nader. Ginny. Charlotte. All of these characters have such a believability about them that makes you sympathize and love them, especially Lucky.
Oh, Lucky Linderman. Do I love you. It's been a while since I've loved a character so much. Lucky is a bullied boy, who's trying to figuratively save his grandfather, who's struggles are so real. But he makes it sadistically funny, and he gets through it.
Such a beautiful story of people trying to make the best of their ruined lives. I think that the stories with a message are the ones that really last. And can tell that Lucky Linderman's story, and his message, will last for a long time.
The Downs: None. Simple. As. That.
Overall: Best book I've read this summer.