Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.
What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.
Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…
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Usually I adore anything and everything Jenn Bennett writes, but SAVING LUCKY felt like a weaker version of her usual works. While it maintains the nostalgic, carefree summer high school slice-of-life and romance aspect, I left like there was MORE that could have been done with the characters. Perhaps the fact that the end didn’t feel quite conclusive also added to this feeling. And while I don’t expect coming of age stories to be conclusive, (after all, characters have their whole lives ahead of them) I still felt like something was missing in the story. And that the details we were reading were all a part of a contemporary romance formula.
“There’s a long-held belief in my family that all the Saint-Martin women are romantically cursed. Unlucky in love, doomed to end up miserable and alone.”
The story starts when Josie arrives back to her hometown, Beauty, despite her mom’s misgivings on the small town energy. Josie sees this town as a stopping point for her actual goal, which is to go to the West coast to train under her father to learn photography. It’s always been team Josie and her mom, but Josie wants more than frequently having to switch schools, and an incomplete family. She thinks that she can pave her way if given an opportunity with her father, who she does not have a life with. Guiding her life plans is a family curse that states how the women in her fam are doomed in love. Joke’s on her, because when she moves back to Beauty, she finds her (estranged) childhood friend still there, looking hotter than ever. Let the fun begin.
The story takes place the summer before Josie’s senior year. While she tries to have fun and enjoy her life, gossip and drama catches up to her. Before she knows what’s going on, her childhood friend Lucky is taking the blame for something she did, and this brings them closer together, despite not having resolution with their childhood conflict. Either way, Josie starts thinking more about her future and then power of the small but strong family that she has now. There’s definitely a lot of family emotions that Josie and the women have to resolve, and that’s the heart of the book. I loved Josie’s friendship with her cousin, as well as her mother. The women of Saint-Martin may be ‘cursed,’ but that brings them ever together.
Josie’s character was a good balance for a girl coming into her life. She’s resilient in taking an internship with her father, but worried about how her mother would react. She cares for her mother deeply, but she’s wanting more out of LIFE. And that really resonated with me, I also enjoyed the sweet, light romance with Lucky, who HAS a very huge, wild. Greek family that welcomed Josie into their arms. While he has a dark and brooding energy, he’s very sweet and caring and supportive of Josie, despite the hole she ends up digging for herself. I thought they had a great dynamic together.
Overall, FINDING LUCKY was a sweet and lovely YA contemporary. But it didn’t particularly stand out from Bennett’s other books, which is a small disappointment. Although most conflicts were resolved, I finished the last page feeling bereft. I definitely liked Josie’s story, but at the end of the day I won’t really remember it.