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Parker, a woman who might be more of a controlling perfectionist than she is. If Obaachan catches on that all the characterstics she despises in Mrs. Parker are ones she possesses herself, she doesn't articulate it. The Parkers also have a hot son in Summer's eyes who teaches Summer some early lessons about love.

I could do without the awkward gushing in my middle-grade fiction, but what's there is handled well. Summer is endearingly dorky and appropriately melodramatic. Kadohata works in literary references to A Separate Peace , a book I personally hated in high school. Summer feels about the same way toward this story of two boys at boarding school, but she puts more thought into it than I ever did.

The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata, Julia Kuo |, Paperback | Barnes & NobleĀ®

The parts where Summer does her lit homework are a little too meta for my tastes, feeling like author commentary coming through the story. Summer expounds upon how literature can help us examine ourselves and learn new things about our innermost beings. It's not untrue -- just look at me examining myself in this review -- but its heavy handedness stands out in what is otherwise a subtly crafted story.

As for the setting, Kadohata fully describes the wheat-harvesting process, for better or for worse. Personally, I liked learning all the details about the grueling process. And the way Summer describes them is a brilliant way for Kadohata to show astute readers that despite Summer's insecurity about her intelligence -- "I'm bad at math! The one thing about The Thing About Luck that didn't gel for me was the title! It feels tacked on to give the book a catchier title than, I don't know, Harvesting Days, or something that would more accurately describe the mundane narrative.

The cover also illustrates a scene in the book that is very brief and, like the title, doesn't feel entirely intrinsic to the story. But these flaws, if you can even call them that, would be like finding a bug in your cream of wheat. A lot work went into bringing that bowl of wheat to your breakfast table, work that hardly goes acknowledged. You shouldn't throw the whole thing out because there's a bug in it. Its presence is the result of a stroke of bad luck, more for the dead bug than for you.

Flick the bug out and enjoy the rest of the meal.

Book Review

Nov 14, Orinoco Womble tidy bag and all rated it it was ok Shelves: children , d-is-for-dysfunctional. Doesn't anyone write upbeat books for young people anymore? Is dysfunctional the new normal? It must be. I don't know. Jaz is the sibling with "issues" in this book, which sound like one of those syndromes so beloved of child psychologists these days, what with the rageaholic head-banging and the superconcentration and the Lego obsession. Summer is far from "normal" herself with her obsession with calculating everything, even as she claims to be terrible at math.

And who draws detailed pictures of Doesn't anyone write upbeat books for young people anymore?

The Thing About Luck Summary & Study Guide

And who draws detailed pictures of mosquitoes? Sounds like Jaz is just the identified patient in this family. I can't see child readers being interested in allll thooose deeetaaails about farm machinery and how it works, not even kids from wheat country. In fact, especially not kids from wheat country, because they already know. And city kids wouldn't be interested.

Adults, maybe. I didn't really enjoy the book, not least because of its fragmentary nature.

It just kind of stops in the middle. The characters weren't terribly sympathetic, either. And what is the deal with including drawing from a kid's notebook It doesn't.

Young Adult Literature

But at least nobody died, and that includes the dog. So why did I give it two stars? Because it's not the author's fault I didn't like it much.

The Thing About Luck: BOOKWORM REVIEW

There's actually some good writing here, considering it's one of those adolescent-girl coming of age stories, without the shoujo sentiment. Beats the crap out of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret which was all the rage when I was twelve. And boy did I just date myself. Summer is right about A Separate Peace --I had to read it about 40 years ago when I was around her age, and the class couldn't relate to it anymore than she did.

We were Midwestern farm kids too, and the angst of a bunch of spoiled rich kids in boarding school just seemed It's a fast read; I finished it in a couple of hours. But personally I'd be wary of giving it to its target audience, in case the young reader started obsessing about having some of the problems Jaz and Summer do. Sep 12, Ann rated it really liked it Shelves: realistic , childrens.

This did not sound like a book I would like, so I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much - which come to think of it was the same reaction I had to the author's Newbery winner, Kira-Kira. Maybe the book blurbs just don't capture the essence of her writing? I loved the relationship between Summer and her grandmother, and even more I loved that there was never an over-the-top scene where it is made abundantly clear that the grandmother really does love her, despite harping on her constantly.

Summe This did not sound like a book I would like, so I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much - which come to think of it was the same reaction I had to the author's Newbery winner, Kira-Kira. Summer comes to realize that she's never going to get a clear signal on that front, and that's just the way life is sometimes. That's very realistic.

I loved the part at the beginning where Summer says hello to the class outcast and he's quite hostile back to her. That seemed like a scene from real life. There was a bit too much info-dumping about wheat and harvesting. I can't quite decide whether that information was necessary so that I could understand everything that was going on and its context, or whether it was essentially extraneous to the core story. The obsession with mosquitoes also got tiring after awhile. It was an interesting quirk at first, but then it was annoying. It's difficult to notice a mosquito biting you, so it's different than if it had been a dog attack or something like that, with ptsd.

I did like that having malaria earlier in the year gave her a different perspective on things, making her more self-aware in a realistic manner. The relationship with her brother, both annoyed and loving, seemed well done, as well as the family's general acceptance of Jaz for who he is, taking his temper more or less in stride, while also worrying about him and his happiness. Feb 22, Angela rated it it was amazing Shelves: family , primary-intermediate. I loved this book, almost finished it in one sitting.

It immerses you in the emotional growth of a 12 year old girl in the US. Not many her age would decide they needed to support their family by driving a combine harvester at night and cooking for 12 people and owning up to her dog killing chickens - for which she paid good money. The year of bad luck had started with her having a rare attack of malaria and she is terrified of catching it again and any appearance of mosquitoes makes her scream She smothers herself in Deet and worries what affect that is having on her health And she contemplates life and meditates.

And someone says nothing happens in the book!!!!!!! Mar 27, Danielle rated it it was amazing Shelves: middle-grade-ya. You can take fever meds and lie in bed and drink chicken broth and sleep seventeen hours in a row, but basically your fever will break when it wants to break. Jul 17, David Getz rated it it was amazing. The world should be as beautiful as this book. It is just a shame adults don't read children's books because we would he happier people if we did.

Feb 27, Estee rated it liked it. This book is done?

Wait a minute, so what is the thing about luck? How could I have missed it? I need Jiichan to tell me a story about it so I can understand it better! I loved Obaachan and Jiichan!! They were my favorite characters! What do they feed Thunder? Why was Thunder even be allowed to go with them? Why are Obaachan and Jiic What?

Why are Obaachan and Jiichan even harvesting this year? It's kind of important to what it means to be Japanese, and yet hardly anybody knows exactly what it was. It kind of means that there can be beauty and nobility inside a rough exterior. Oct 10, Kristin rated it it was ok Shelves: girls , farm , family , read-in , special-needs.


If I had to use one word to describe this book, it would be: boring.