Lucky Little Things by Janice Erlbuam

Hope y’all are having a great Saturday night! I just finished Janice Erlbaum‘s debut middle grades novel Lucky Little Things (2018, Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

I LOVED the book’s cover. It actually reminded me of the cover of Katrina Yan Glasser’s The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (whose sequel The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden came out just this week). I must be attracted to books set in New York City!

So I really, really wanted to love Lucky Little Things. And I think readers of Wendy Mass (author of 11 Birthdays, A Mango-Shaped Space, and Every Soul a Star) will.

I did like the premise: Emma, who has just lost a family friend Aunt Jenny to cancer, receives a note promising luck. Emma has no idea who wrote the letter (until the end of the book) and exactly why it asks her to write down 10 things she wants to happen. Throughout the book, Emma is both amazed and confused at which things on her list do and do not come true.

But I didn’t really, really love Lucky Little Things. Erlbaum’s overbearing narrative presence and the book’s slow pace left me underwhelmed. This is also one of the books that tries to take on so many contemporary societal issues – to its detriment.

The book’s beauty comes at the book’s end, when Emma has a grand realization, one so important – and eloquently written about –  that it saved the book for me.

A cute book that I’m sure many middle grades readers will enjoy, Lucky Little Things earns three  stars. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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