I added this title to my list earlier this year for a reason only I might have – the theme of luck or lack of it was something I covered in one of my own stories I’ve been editing for what seems like forever. My worry was that the story I had written would be too much like this one. Thankfully that wasn’t the case as LUCKY STRIKE goes down an entirely different road. It’s a journey I thoroughly enjoyed.
Written in third person, the action centers around a boy (Nate Harlow) who has the worst luck of any kid. It’s also about his best friendship with, Gen, a gifted thinker and outlier in the social world of school. Nate isn’t much better in that pursuit but when he survives an unfortunate lightning strike his future changes. He instantly becomes the luckiest boy in his small seaside Florida town.
This would make a great read aloud as the discussion that would follow would be rich with debate. Probability or dumb luck? How do families deal with change? Does one really have good or bad luck?
After reading this touching story, you’ll feel great for having done so.
PUBLICATION DATE:2015 WORD COUNT: 45,813 LEVEL: 5.2
FULL PLOT (From Amazon): Nate Harlow has never had a lucky day in his life. He’s never won a prize, he’s never been picked first, he’s never even won a coin toss. His best friend, Genesis Beam (aka Gen), believes in science and logic, and she doesn’t think for one second that there’s such a thing as luck, good or bad. But only an extremely unlucky person could be struck by lightning on his birthday… and that person is Nate Harlow. By some miracle, though, Nate survives, and the strike seems to have changed his luck. Suddenly, Nate’s grandpa is the busiest fisherman in their small, beachside town. And Nate finds himself the center of attention, the most popular kid at school, the one who hits a game-winning home run! This lucky streak can’t last forever, though, and as a hurricane draws close to the shores of Paradise Beach, Nate and Gen may need more than just good luck to save their friendship and their town: They need a miracle.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: LUCKY STRIKE by Bobbie Pyron
- The sub-plot of loggerhead turtles migrating to shore to lay their eggs, and the protective nature of Nate and Gen was a welcome addition to the story. Being quite a ways inland, I’d never learned about the habits of this species.
- Nate initially reacts to his change with skepticism, but soon he embraces the good luck and uses it to his advantage. Of course in the process he leaves behind his best friend. Nate is a special kid and his true side is something we hope comes out in all children.
- Intermixed between the magic of Nate’s good fortune is a realistic portrayal of life in a sea town. Many memorable characters lift off the pages.
- The message about the importance of friendship rings true throughout the story. Young readers will embrace this theme.
- The writing of the climatic scene was excellent as the viewpoint switches back and forth to Nate and Gen. Great learning for any writer trying to increase the stakes in their own ending scenes.
FAVORITE LINES: He heard the wail of a siren in the distance. He saw his grandpa run across the road. He felt Grandpa’s heart hammering in his chest. Nate wanted so badly to tell him it was all okay.
For more information visit Bobbie Pyron’s Website
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.