By Danette Haworth
Available now from Walker (Bloomsbury)
When Hailee Richardson's parents win the lottery, she thinks her whole life is going to change. But her parents don't quit their jobs and don't run out to buy her new clothes and toys. The only thing they do is send her to local private school Magnolia Academy, away from her best friend.
But soon enough Hailee's talked her parents into buying her a new bike and a smartphone, and she begins to fit in at Magnolia. She joins the Library Club with her neighbor Emily, who turns out to be cooler than she expected. Most of all, she wants to be liked by Nikki Simms, the bad girl who was nice to her on her first day at a new school.
A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY covers familiar ground, including sibling rivalry, the costs of popularity, and bullying. Danette Haworth has an easy style that's very comfortable to read. And comfort is an excellent antidote to middle school. Like most kids that age, Hailee makes mistakes. But she learns from the consequences of her actions.
I liked her friends as well. Amanda, Emily, and Nikki might all be friends with Hailee, but they're very different girls and she relates to them in different ways. I enjoyed how tough friendship is in A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY. It's a worthy pursuit, but it takes effort on both sides of the equation. The tribulations of socialization don't end as soon as you make friends.
Young girls (and possibly guys) will enjoy A WHOLE LOT OF LUCKY. It's a cute, relateable middle grade contemporary.