Title: Just My Luck
Author: Cammie McGovern
Synopsis: Fourth grade is not going at all how Benny Barrows hoped. He hasn’t found a new best friend. He’s still not a great bike rider—even though his brother George, who’s autistic, can do tricks. And worst of all, he worries his dad’s recent accident might be all his fault. Benny tries to take his mom’s advice and focus on helping others, and to take things one step at a time. But when his dad ends up in the hospital again, Benny doesn’t know how he and his family will overcome all the bad luck that life has thrown their way.
Just My Luck is a deeply moving and rewarding novel about a down-on-his-luck boy whose caring heart ultimately helps him find the strength to cope with tragedy and realize how much he truly has to offer his friends and family.
Huge thank you to Harper Collins Canada for this ARC!
Cammie McGovern seems to have become an auto-read author for me as of late. There’s something about her novels where I find myself really connecting to her characters and their personal situations. Being that this was her first middle grade novel, I was a bit worried about how this was going to shake up. Turns out, it was fantastic ride that made me shed a few tears!
Benny is a delightful main character, and his voice is so delightful and genuine. He’s one of those kids who has a hard time making friends, mostly because he’s scared of being made fun of or hurt. He also has a brother with a disability, whom he shows great compassion towards, even if others do not. He confides in his Lego collection by making little movies as a means to share his love and passions.
Benny reminded me of myself when I was his age, although change Lego to Littlest Pet Shops. Like Benny, I’d spend hours of my day making elaborate stories with my Littlest Pet Shops, weaving new tales and seeing what kinds of antics the characters could get themselves into. Benny is also a kid who desires to be recognized, and when his school implements a Footprints Program (essentially, a good deed gets you a footprint with your name on it), Benny tries to put himself out there in ways, and I could totally sympathize with a lot of his feelings within the story.
I also loved Benny’s relationship with his family. His family is so supportive and strong, and yet they know they are also kind of a mess too. Benny’s family goes through so much in this tiny little book, and it’s amazing how much stronger they become in terms of dealing with their family problems. I thought the relationships between everyone were spectacularly writing, and easy to root for.
This book is just so genuine in every way. It leaves you thinking about how you were when you were a child, especially if you weren’t the most extroverted kid. This is my favourite book of Cammie McGovern’s to date, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with next!