Lucky in Love follows our main protagonist Maddie, a high school senior who’s only goal in life is to study hard enough to not only get into a great college, but to also get a decent sized scholarship. Maddie’s dad lost his job and things in the family have been tough ever since. Her brother dropped out of college and moved home with no direction in life and her parents have not stopped fighting and seemingly hate each other. Maddie’s only refuge is her job at the local zoo, where she gets to spend time with the animals she adores and get to know her crush, Seth, a bit better. On Maddie’s 18th birthday, after having been ditched by her so-called “best friends”, she drives to the local convenience store to pick up some Reese’s Pieces and in the spur of the moment, impulsively decides to buy a lottery ticket instead. Unexpectedly, Maddie’s numbers are announced as the winner of millions of dollars. Immediately, Maddie is convinced that this money will be the solution to all of her family problems. Her brother can move out and go back to school, her parents can stop fighting about finances and Maddie doesn’t have to worry about money for college. Sounds like a fool-proof resolution, right? Wrong. Soon, nerdy, shy Maddie is the most popular girl in school. People who have never noticed her before are suddenly trying to become her best friend, perfect strangers are now attempting to coerce Maddie into giving them money and she feels even her family are starting to take advantage of her. Maddie’s only refuge becomes the Zoo…and Seth, who seems to be the only person out there unaware of Maddie’s newfound riches. This is a story of first love, trusting your gut and following your dreams. While relatively unrealistic (because as the book itself states, you have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning than winning the lottery), there are definitely some powerful messages about family, the meaning of friendship and staying true to yourself. Now that I’ve given a synopsis, I wanted to share what I both liked and disliked about the book.
What I enjoyed:
- I really loved Seth, he was a very accurate depiction of the well-liked for all the right reasons, quintessential high school boy. Seth is Asian-American and West made an obvious attempt to delve into the different struggles that a non-white person in the US does not have to deal with, such as extreme stereotyping pertaining to race.
- As always, Kasie West did a fantastic job of creating a light contemporary story that also manages to touch on deeper, relate able subject matter. This story revolved more on dysfunctional families, which I’m sure a lot of readers could identify with.
- This is incredibly obvious, but THE COVER. I personally think that of all of West’s books, this cover takes home the grand prize.
- I was obsessed with the story’s zoo setting and Maddie’s absolute love for all the animals and their well-being, especially the anteater. It is not too often in YA that animals are incorporated into a main plot point and I loved it.
What I did NOT enjoy:
- I have a whole lot of strong opinions about Maddie’s friends. Without getting too ranty, THEY WERE AWFUL. Her two bff’s treated her like absolute sh*t and Maddie was always so quick to forgive them and let them keep treating her horribly. I can’t say much more for fear of spoilers, but wow these two were something else.
- For some reason, and I can’t put my finger on it, I just felt like I was a bit too old for this book. A lot of the subject matter, while important, I just didn’t find relate able and I found myself getting bored with the story. I can typically finish a YA contemporary in a day or two but this took me about two weeks to finish. For an example on younger content, Maddie throws a gigantic yacht party for her classmates after she wins the lottery and…nothing. Literally nothing epic happens on this epic yacht party except for some kid trying to get Maddie to pay him to NOT jump off the boat. I would’ve at least thought they’d try to smuggle some kegs or spiked punch into the party.
- The title of this book is Lucky in Love, but the love story really took a back seat in this book. It lead to me believing that Maddie and Seth falling for each other would be the central story but it was actually a minor plot point. So, I just felt kind of mislead by the title. Misleading book titles are totally the original, non-digital version of clickbait.
Overall, I found this book to be just okay. While it is probably my least favorite Kasie West book, I will still continue to read every new book that she releases.