Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lucky Breaks Takes Us Back to Life in Hard Pan

I'll admit it I wasn't a huge fan of The Higher Power of Lucky. I thought it was ok, but I didn't quite get what all of the fuss was about, well, other than the word that launched a thousand controversies. I'll also admit, I was disappointed when it won the Newbery, my favorite that year was Hattie Big Sky, but then, I'm a sucker for historical fiction. So when I saw that the sequel, Lucky Breaks was out, I almost didn't read it, boy am I glad I changed my mind on that.

Susan Patron takes us back to Hard Pan and it's cast of "old desert rat characters" including Miles the boy genius, Lincoln Clinton Carter Kennedy the future president and Lucky's best friend, Brigitte, Lucky's adopted French mother and cafe' owner, Short Sammy the neighbor who owned the infamous dog Roy and a host of others, that after reading Lucky Breaks, I have come to love and want to read the next installment.

In Lucky Break, Lucky is turning 11 and has big wishes for her birthday. She wants a party with lots of people, she wants a best friend that is a girl, she wants her absent father to contact her, she wishes her best friend Lincoln would stop tying knots.

After getting stuck in a dry well, Lucky gets her big birthday which she shares with Miles and everyone eats stew cooked in Short Sammy's new bathtub.

She meets Paloma who stops by for lunch at the cafe' and they hit it off immediately. The problem is that Paloma lives two hours away with her over protective parents. The two girls figure out a way for Paloma to return to Hard Pan and a friendship is born. Paloma is a perfect sidekick for Lucky, a bit more refined, and less likely to take chances. Lucky brings out the adventurer in Paloma when they go in search of a Hard Pan historical figure with the same name.

Linclon actually uses his knot tying skills to save Lucky from the well and then stops tying them after Lucky is ungrateful. In the end, Lucky realizes that knot tying is part of what makes Lincoln Clinton Carter Kennedy who he is and who she likes and so he goes back to the tying.

I came to love Hard Pan in this book and may even be able to over look the word that launched a thousand controversies, which Susan Patron uses again...twice.

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