8 Jul 2016

ARC #Review: LUCKY STRIKES by Louis Bayard


Author: Louis Bayard
Source: eARC via Publisher
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Set in Depression-era Virginia, this is the story of orphaned Amelia and her struggle to keep her siblings together.

With her mama recently dead and her pa sight unseen since birth, fourteen-year-old Amelia is suddenly in charge of her younger brother and sister, and of the family gas station. Harley Blevins, local king and emperor of Standard Oil, is in hot pursuit to clinch his fuel monopoly. To keep him at bay and her family out of foster care, Melia must come up with a father, and fast. And so when a hobo rolls out of a passing truck, Melia grabs opportunity by its beard. Can she hold off the hounds till she comes of age?

Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this one! It wasn't exactly what I was anticipating but it was still good in it's own right. I would definitely classify it more as a Middle Grade novel than an Young Adult one, but I still thoroughly enjoyed my reading of it. I was put off a bit by some of the phrasing of things and the fact that this was basically one long letter but I wasn't sure who it was addressed to or if I was supposed to be someone in Melia's life. 

I thought that there was a good mix of believable good things that came out of this and some things that were almost too good to be true. And while it works in some novels, I found that this one could have used with more of the down and out sort of feeling rather than the happily ever afters. There were definitely some things that went wrong, but it felt like it went up and up and the real issues that could have set them back didn't really do so. And I feel like that made me feel a bit cheated for the story. 

I did really like all the characters though. I thought Melia was really strong and tough and while she sounded older than 14, I could believe it through context and timing. I feel as though with historical fiction, you can get away with how your MC sounds and acts because of context and this was definitely one of those instances. I think she was really brave and did anything and everything she could to survive and keep her family together. I liked that she was really innovative but also still a child and allowed to be a child in this story. 

I think the family was really well constructed. I liked that everyone had their role but they were also really dependent on one another. I think there was a lot of pressure for Melia to be the leader but she defected when she had to because it was the right thing to do. 

I really liked this one. I thought it felt like the time period, had a really strong main character, and enough hope to mix with the sad parts that I found myself smiling as much as I did crying. Overall a well rounded novel with a great message that no matter what life throws at you, you are stronger than it.

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