Google+ Reading Teen: The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2011)
Buy the BookAmazon
High school junior Nick Brandt is intent on getting a girlfriend, and Eden Reiss is the one that he wants. He has exactly four semesters to get the girl, but when the phone rings on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday night, life for Nick and his parents will never be the same. What had been a seemingly idyllic home life has become something else entirely. But with this shake-up comes a newfound confidence for Nick; he's become a bolder version of himself, no longer afraid to question his parents, and no longer afraid to talk to Eden.

Let me first start off by saying that, this is not my kind of book.  If I hadn't been doing this for a book tour, I never would have finished it.  It's not that the writing was bad, or boring, or anything like that, it was actually pretty good.  It's just that I don't care for books with this amount of profanity and sexual content/dialog/innuendo, often very crude.  I understand that this is told from a guy's point of view, and I know that it is being "realistic,"  but I just don't have any desire to read about a guy looking up girls' skirts or at their breasts, making sexual jokes, etc.  That's just not what I prefer to read.  But I'm a guess that makes sense?

The biggest problem I had with this book, however, was this internal dialog from the main character, Nick, after finding out his dad had a son he had given up for adoption:

Maybe they weren't allowed to have sex ed at the public high school in Troy where Dad went.  We all have sex ed, we all know we're supposed to use condoms, and any of the girls I know--I think they would all know what to do, early on (meaning abortion). I almost asked why Sarah didn't do that, but then I thought I have no idea what the abortion laws are in Ohio now, let alone--I do the math--twenty-nine years ago.

I actually had to read that twice to make sure I read it correctly.  Now I know that people have different views on abortion, but when I read this I was furious.  As many of you who are regulars here know, I had a baby when I was a teenager.  And for someone to say that the right/smart/obvious thing to do, would have been for me to get an abortion, and that I was basically stupid/backwoods/uneducated/whatever because I didn't, seriously makes me angry.  All I could think was that I was so glad I was reading this and not my daughter.  I would NEVER want her to feel like keeping her was some kind of stupid mistake.  And after reading that, how could she not?

I was so mad after reading this, that I had a really hard time getting over it, and getting into the story.  However, after taking a break, and processing it, I'm wondering if I'm wrong.  I have a tendency to think that the opinions of a character are the opinions of the author.  And I know this isn't always right.  And as the book goes on, Nick does do a lot of reflecting on his arrogant viewpoints, changing his mind (though never actually dealing with this statement).  So, maybe this was just a stupid thing he thought, and the author was showing how close-minded he was, and how this life-altering experience has changed him.  I hope that is the case.

As for the rest of the story, after getting over all was actually really good.  I enjoyed the romance between Nick and Eden.  They were ridiculously sweet together.  I especially liked Nick's dad and Stevie, Nick's best friend.  I thought they were really fantastic characters, and they were beyond patient with Nick as he tried to figure out what this all meant for him and his relationships.  The ending of the book, was really well done.  I was so happy with the way everything was concluded.

So, would I recommend this book?  Well, I guess if you are better at separating characters from the author (or if that statement doesn't bother you), and if you don't mind the heavy profanity and sexual content, and are a fan of contemporary YA fiction, you will probably really like this book.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Well said Andye, and kudos for your honesty. I think you and I (Stacy) are alike in a lot of ways.

  3. That is a pretty huge statement that character made and I can completely understand why that made you mad. Honestly, It's hard not to get frustrated at a comment like that. I've not read the book, but I'm glad the author showed how closed minded the character was and had him reflect on that. I think when any author takes a sensitive subject matter and adds that to their book, it's going to effect readers in some way. This is a very sensitive subject for a lot of people and I'm sure you're not going to be the only one mad at that comment. If I had been in your shoes and read that, I would have been furious.

    Okay, I'm having major issues with writing my comment. I swear I need caffeine to wake me up. I'm having issues with getting my thoughts written. lol

  4. Thanks for the honest review!

  5. I do agree that it's a mistake to see characters as stand-ins for the author, and it gets easier to make this sort of mistake as the character gets closer to the author in gender, age, etc. Certainly, no one has ever read Stubbs and Bernadette and asked me if Bernie's shyness was autobiographical, although I have been asked the same sort of question about my male characters.

    Given all of that, as a writer, if I wanted to put forward a statement with this degree of, uh, let's say flammability, I'd be careful not to put it in an internal monologue, but in dialogue where it could be immediately attacked to an appropriate degree by another character. Also, in my own writing, such a viewpoint would, indeed, be a part of the character's growth and change, which is what all writing is about, at its heart.

    I've not read the book, and I really can't claim to know what the author had in mind, but I can state rather flatly that if a reader can come away from the book wondering about it, then to that degree, the author has failed the reader.

  6. I loved your honesty. And it's understandable why.

  7. I just got this in the mail so I'm anxious to see how I feel about it! Thanks for the honest review!

  8. wow, I can totally understand why that would be upsetting to you as a reader. It is too bad it wasn't dealt with better in the book and just considered a belief that was okay. I just read another book where the character automatically assumes that a person is Jewish because of their last name and I had a similar reaction because it was like the author didn't even think anyone would consider that an issue! Things like that can really throw off a book that a reader might otherwise enjoy.

  9. I completely see when you would find this book upsetting. I haven't read it, so I don't feel I have to right to have an opinion on it just yet. But that's too bad, because you and I have similar tastes and I was really looking forward to this one. I may still check it out for myself, but it is definitely no long near to top of my to-read wish -list.

    Thanks for the honest review.

  10. I wrote this awesome long comment and it disappeared.

    I totally agree with Andye.

    YA authors have a responsibility to their audience and they have to watch what statements they make, especially when considering the maturity of their intended audience.

    Personally, I don't want to hear a bunch of little kids talk dirty and cuss on "South Park" nor do I want to hear egocentric teens do the same in books. That doesn't really seem to benefit anyone or raise the intelligence level of our society.

  11. Kudos to you for writing such a honest review! I want to read this one soon, but will definitely take your thoughts into consideration.

  12. Sometimes I think that some YA authors feel that they need to overdo the sex and profanity in their books in order to attract teen readers. Yet, if you look at the books that are popular they do not go overboard on these elements. From your review it sounds like this is one of those books that takes it too far in trying to be "real." Thanks for the honest review!!

  13. I think the reason that we sometimes have a difficult time separating the thoughts of an author from a character is because, oftentimes, the author DOES agree with what the character is saying - that's why they wrote it that way. It's almost a subconscious thing for a writer to do it because that's just the way they think.

    The way this author handled the topic of abortion (in relation to that quote, because I haven't read the book) was poor, I think. A lot of people will argue this, but I believe YA authors have a special kind of responsibility to their readers: they must understand that they are writing to people who are still children, albeit older children. They are especially impressionable. The character could have said this in dialogue, perhaps, and another character contradicts his thinking. That would have achieved the exact same affect, but balanced the views.

    I'm a little shocked that an author could address such a huge subject in such a flippant way.

  14. I think it's so easy for people to think "Why didn't you just get an abortion" or for people not to understand the trouble girls go through when faced with that decision. That would turn me off too. I had my son right out of highschool, I was 18 and scared but I had my amazing husband. Most girls don't have that. My friend had her son during our senior year and though the dad didn't want her to have it, she stuck it out and endured all the gossip and stares and I was so proud of her. I haven't read this, but that would of been something that stuck out to me as well

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