Friday, March 18, 2016

Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel, 2016

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Welcome to Fortune Falls, a magical town where superstitions are real. Four-leaf clovers really do bring good fortune, and owning a rabbit's foot is the secret to success.
However, there aren't enough charms in the universe to help Sadie Bleeker. She can't pass a ladder without walking under it, and black cats won't leave her alone.
That's because Sadie is an Unlucky. And things will only get worse as she gets older, which is why Unluckies are sent away at age twelve to protect those around them.
Sadie can't stand the thought of leaving home, so she and her friend, Cooper, devise a plan to reverse her bad luck. But when their scheme accidentally results in a broken mirror, the situation turns dire. Because for Sadie, seven years bad luck isn't an inconvenience-it's practically a death sentence.
Can a girl who's never so much as found a single lucky penny change her fortune? Or will she be forced to celebrate her twelfth birthday by saying farewell to everyone she loves?

(208 pages)

Wow. This book is so, so good.

I mean, I thought it would just be a fluffy kid's book. That's what it looks like from the cover and the page count, isn't it? And yet this is one of the coolest premises I've read about in a long time, and it's more well-written and engaging than many books that are supposed to be written for older kids.

Everybody's always talking about retelling fairytales, but how come no one ever came up with the idea of playing with superstitions before now? Maybe I'm just ignorant and this has been done in the past, but I for one had never seen it before and man - it was like a breath of fresh air. There was a whole new world to explore, a world where walking under ladders or crossing a black cat's path could spell ruin, a world where Unluckies who break mirrors usually wind up dead, a world where stepping on a crack literally breaks your mother's back . . . and the potentials are endless! I really love how Goebel builds her story on such an awesome premise.

But it's not just the setting that I loved about Fortune Falls; the characters were great as well. The stereotypical mean girl (who of course is a brat about the upcoming test to weed out the Unluckies) aside, all of the characters are well-developed and realistic. Sadie's friend Cooper, who already passed the test as a Lucky, is so determined to make sure Sadie can keep coming to school with him that he disobeys his snobby parents' orders to stay away from her so he can help her find a way to be lucky. It's really very sweet of him, and I would totally love to have a friend like Cooper! Sadie's younger brother Petey is also a great character, a mixture of adorable and infuriating that perfectly encapsulates the essence of younger brothers everywhere, and the supporting characters - like Sadie's mother, and the kids at school - are all drawn with strong strokes.

I don't know what else there is to say about Fortune Falls, other than that I highly recommend it and my fingers are totally crossed that there's going to be a sequel. And who knows? With this book, maybe crossed fingers really will help!

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