Title: Chasing Lucky
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon Holt
(Expected) Publication Date: November 10th, 2020
Page Count: 416
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Time Period: Current Day
Location: Rhode Island
Rating: 5 Stars
Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.
What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.
Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…
There was a lot to love about this story. While I couldn’t be further away from Josie in a lot of ways, I actually connected to her on some base levels. When I was a teenager, I loved to take photos. Having a darkroom was a dream of mine; in middle school we had a six week course in taking photos and developing them and it was my favorite! I actually loved taking photos of signs, too. I distinctly remember being in Texas, in San Antonio, and taking a picture of a billboard that read “You’re too skinny, eat.” I can’t remember what the advertisement was for, but I remember loving it and thinking it was great. I was with a friend’s family and we decided we should travel around taking pictures of fun, funny, irreverent, sarcastic signs. That was twenty-some years ago and now it’s just a thing that’s everywhere. The internet, man.
Then there’s Josie’s relationship with her mom. It’s strained to the point of breaking. Mostly due to static in their channel of communication. I wanted to reach through the pages and help them fix it, help them turn that dial until they found the right frequency to make it work. Between poor choices, lack of words, wrong words, they were never on the same page, and sometimes in different books. I completely understood that, deep in my soul. When I was a teenager my mom and rarely got along, our communication stilted to the point of arguing constantly. Communication is hard, y’all.
Jenn Bennett has woven a story that feels authentic and rooted in reality. At first the “brooding boy left behind” felt a little far-fetched to me but once Lucky was brought to life more and more through the pages and his story and self revealed all the puzzle pieces began to fit for me. There were some characters I truly disliked and some I wanted strangle for poor choices repeatedly made. I love how Jenn can give me a feel for a character just by how they talk, dress, or address a problem rather than a paragraph or page description of them. That’s how I like it.
I was dropped into the town of Beauty through the writing. The harbor town was brought to life and I could imagine being part of the town, walking beside Josie as she went from place to place. To the fateful party with Evie, to the bookstore, to the Karras’ boatyard… I could smell the fish, the grease, the books; feel the streets beneath my feet.
I definitely look forward to reading Jenn Bennett’s backlist that I haven’t read yet. And to buying this one for my shelves (and my library). 😀
I so want to share ALL the quotes I loved! But, alas, because it’s an unfinished copy, I can’t!!! If I remember, once it’s published, I shall do so.
~Coming of Age
~Strong Sense of Place ~Romantic
~Childhood friends ~Bookstores ~Mother/Daughter relationships
~Hometowns ~Summer ~Teenage boy/girl relationships
~Family ~Teenage romance
*Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Holt for an eArc review copy of Chasing Lucky. This in no way influences my review or thoughts on the book, its characters, or the writing.