Title: Lucky Girl
Author: Jamie Pacton
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 11, 2021
A hilarious and poignant reflection on what money can and cannot fix
58,642,129. That’s how many dollars seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather just won in the lotto jackpot. It’s also about how many reasons she has for not coming forward to claim her prize.
Problem #1: Jane is still a minor, and if anyone discovers she bought the ticket underage, she’ll either have to forfeit the ticket, or worse . . .
Problem #2: Let her hoarder mother cash it. The last thing Jane’s mom needs is millions of dollars to buy more junk. Then . . .
Problem #3: Jane’s best friend, aspiring journalist Brandon Kim, declares on the news that he’s going to find the lucky winner. It’s one thing to keep her secret from the town — it’s another thing entirely to lie to her best friend. Especially when . . .
Problem #4: Jane’s ex-boyfriend, Holden, is suddenly back in her life, and he has big ideas about what he’d do with the prize money. As suspicion and jealousy turn neighbor against neighbor, and no good options for cashing the ticket come forward, Jane begins to wonder: Could this much money actually be a bad thing
Seventeen-year-old Fortuna Jane Belleweather buys a lottery ticket on a whim one day and ends up winning the $58 million jackpot. There are a few reason she can’t cash it. First of all, she’s underage. She could wait until she turns eighteen, but she still bought the ticket while underage so she would face a misdemeanor if she claimed it. She could let her mother cash it, but that is another problem. Her mother is a hoarder who has been filling their home with other people’s discarded mementos since Jane’s father died. If Jane’s mother cashed in the lottery ticket, Jane is afraid of what she would spend it on. Jane’s best friend Bran wants to be a journalist, so he investigates the mysterious lottery winner. At the same time, Jane’s ex-boyfriend also wants to find out who the winner is because he has big plans of what he would do with the jackpot. As time goes on, there is more excitement around who won the lottery ticket in their small town, and Jane has to decide what she’s going to do with it.
This is the third novel that I’ve read in the past month about someone winning the lottery. In two of those books, the person couldn’t cash it in because they are or would be in trouble with the law. Everyone dreams of winning the lottery, but it isn’t the dream that is seems. Jane and Bran researched past lottery winners and read about the horrible turns their lives took after winning. Many ended up dead or bankrupt. The lottery seems like it would solve all of life’s problems, but it causes a lot of new problems.
One thing I didn’t really believe was the ending of the story. I won’t give away what Jane’s ultimate decision was in terms of if she cashed in the ticket or not. She talked so much about what the future could be like if she cashed in the ticket, and I don’t think the future she had planned at the end of the story was believable. It went against what he learned throughout the story about past lottery winners. This was a YA story, so it had a positive outcome, but I don’t think it was the most realistic ending.
This is a thought-provoking read!
Thank you Page Street Kids and TBR and Beyond for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
Jackpot by Nic Stone
The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly by Jamie Pacton
About the author:
Jamie Pacton is a Young Adult and Middle Grade author who grew up minutes away from the National Storytelling Center in the mountains of East Tennessee. She has a BA and MA in English Literature, and currently teaches English at the college level. While pursuing her dream of being an author, she worked as a waitress, pen salesperson, lab assistant, art museum guard, bookseller, pool attendant, nanny, and lots of other weird jobs in between. Her writing has appeared in national and local magazines, and she spent many years blogging for Parents.com. Currently, Jamie lives in Wisconsin with her family and a dog named Lego. The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly is her YA debut novel and her sophomore novel, Lucky Girl, is forthcoming in Spring 2021. She has also published a MG novel, Farfetched, under the pen name Finn Colazo.
Where to buy:
Have you read Lucky Girl? What did you think of it?