Lucky in Love: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

Maddie doesn’t believe in luck. She believes in working hard and being realistic. She’d love to dream big like her Stanford-bound best friend but dreams like that have no place in Maddie’s reality.

When her eighteenth birthday turns into a total bust, Maddie decides to indulge in a little self-pity and a lot of whimsy when she buys a lottery ticket. Much to her dismay, the ticket wins big.

Before her win Maddie’s family is struggling with debt and barely managing with her overworked mother and unemployed father constantly fighting about money while Maddie’s older brother has taken time off from college to pay some of the loans he has already accrued. Maddie’s lottery money and her natural caregiver tendencies should solve all of their problems but, as Maddie learns, money can’t fix everything–especially people who may not want to be fixed.

Maddie also learns the hard way that money has the potential to change everyone she’s ever met as acquaintances and even strangers start asking for loans, friends question her behavior, and rumors start flying about her in the tabloids. Maddie’s one refuge is the zoo where her coworker Seth Nguyen seems to have no idea that Maddie is now a multi-millionaire.

Seth is charming, funny, and perfect the way he is now–when he doesn’t know Maddie’s secret. As they grow closer Maddie knows she has to tell Seth the truth. Soon. The only problem is that being honest with him might also mean losing Seth before he and Maddie have a chance to get closer in Lucky in Love (2017) by Kasie West.

Find it on Bookshop.

West’s latest standalone contemporary novel is narrated by Maddie as she navigates her sudden change of circumstance along with all of the other uncharted moments that come with being a senior in high school. Her love of animals and work at the local zoo add a fun dimension to Maddie’s character and the plot.

Thanks to the lottery, Maddie learns to put herself first and also accept things she can’t control or change. In the midst of the lottery chaos Maddie also develops a sweet relationship with Seth–her Vietnamese-American coworker at the zoo. He gives her some much-needed perspective with his focus on film making and going with the flow even in the face of disheartening micro-aggressions and more overt discrimination. He remains easygoing and fun even when it feels like Maddie’s life is in chaos. Seth is a sweet and mellow counterpoint to hyper-focused overachiever Maddie.

Lucky in Love strikes the perfect balance between reality and wish fulfillment with a charming story sure to leave readers smiling. Lucky in Love is a winning ticket for any readers looking for a frothy and ultimately cheerful story about growing up and chasing your dreams–with or without a lottery win to back you up. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, 29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo, The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, American Royals by Katharine McGee, When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, Lucky Girl by Jamie Pacton, My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma, Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman, Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

My Heart is Like a Zoo: A Picture Book Review

My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael HallHundreds of hearts come together to shape some animals both familiar and exotic in this rhyming romp through the various phases of a child’s heart before they retire after a busy day (as busy as a zookeeper’s even!).

My Heart is Like a Zoo (2010) by Michael Hall introduces children to a variety of new concepts beyond emotions and feelings. The varied palette for both animals and backgrounds can introduce colors as easily as the animals themselves can be used for a counting exercise. Hall uses hearts and the occasional circle or rectangle to create all of the artwork inviting children to identify the various shapes and try to make some shape animals of their own. The large text and boldly colored artwork carry wide appeal as do Hall’s clever turns of phrase about steady yaks and happy hippos.

And, of course, as the cover shows very nicely the book is totally adorable! Hall’s artwork and writing is fantastic and elevates what could have been a twee, simple book into a complex and entertaining picture book for readers of all ages.

An attractive, versatile book My Heart is Like a Zoo is guaranteed to become a story time favorite.