Higher Power of LuckyTitle: The Higher Power of Lucky
Author: Susan Patron
ISBN: 9781416901945
Pages: 134 pages
Publisher/Date: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, c2006.

“Out of the millions of people in America who might become Lucky’s mother if Brigitte went home to France, Lucky wondered about some way to trap and catch the exact right one. She was pretty sure she’d be able to, if only she had a Higher Power.
But when she envisioned her perfect mother, she kept thinking of traits and habits like Brigitte’s. That always made her think somehow not of the perfect mother but of the perfect child, which in most ways Lucky already was, but not in every way. Brigitte did not fully realize the ways Lucky was almost perfect, but she did notice thoroughly the ways Lucky was not.” (13)

By listening in on the discussions of the various annonymous groups that meet locally, 10 year old Lucky Trimble learns that she needs a Higher Power to get control of her life. Two years ago, her life went spinning out of control when her mother died after being struck by lightning. Her father’s ex-wife, Brigitte, comes from France to care for Lucky. But Lucky keeps expecting that anyday, Brigitte will want to return to the France she loves and misses. Lucky devises a plan to runaway from home and make Brigitte miss her so much that she won’t want to leave. Plans change though, when a windstorm whips up that sends the entire town (population 43) in a frenzy.

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron won the Newbery Award in 2007, which some people/librarians found controversial due to the inclusion of the word “scrotum” on the very first page. I can definitely understand the trepidation people would have in recommending it to young children, especially if the parents are caught unaware of that occurrance and forced to explain something they’re unprepared to explain. The story itself is sweat in it’s simplicity as Lucky struggles to understand the situation she’s placed in. While I’m unfamiliar with the standards of the Newbery committee, this story doesn’t seem as memorable to me as previous winners I’ve read, and I wish Rules (which received an Honor that year) would have won.

As I continue to read throughout this year, it’s interesting to see unintentional connections through my reading choices. Ironically enough, Lucky carries a survival backpack, much in the same way Cassandra does in The Name of This Book is Secret. They both also lost a parent, which contributes to the need they feel to carry their survival backpacks.