Thursday, April 16, 2015

Review | Lucky Strike by Bobbie Pyron 
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
(February 24, 2015)
ISBN: 978-0545592178
Category: Children's Fiction, Middle Grade
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Friendship, Bullies
Tour Date: April 1-May29, 2015 Available in: Print & ebook,
Page Count: 272 

By the award winning author of 'The Dogs of Winter', Bobbie Pyron.
A rich, southern voice tells the unforgettable story of two vulnerable outsiders, the lightning strike that turns their world upside down and the true meaning of lucky. Nate Harlow has never had a lucky day in his life. He's never won a prize, he's never been picked first, he's never even won a coin toss. His best friend, Genesis Beam (aka Gen), believes in science and logic, and she doesn't think for one second that there's such a thing as luck, good or bad. But only an extremely unlucky person could be struck by lightning on his birthday... and that person is Nate Harlow. By some miracle, though, Nate survives, and the strike seems to have changed his luck. Suddenly, Nate's grandpa is the busiest fisherman in their small, beachside town. And Nate finds himself the center of attention, the most popular kid at school, the one who hits a game-winning home run! This lucky streak can't last forever, though, and as a hurricane draws close to the shores of Paradise Beach, Nate and Gen may need more than just good luck to save their friendship and their town: They need a miracle.

As most of you know, I don't read a lot of Middle Grade books myself, which is probably a bit ironic since I am a middle school teacher. While some Middle Grade books are a bit low for my seventh graders, a lot of them are right on the level that they need to be as well, and I do like to read what my students enjoy so that I can talk to them about it. This means convincing myself to read more MG books. When I received an email requesting for me to read the book and review it for the blog tour, I decided to go ahead and give this book a try. It sounded like it could be quite fun, and I was looking forward to seeing what I thought about it.

The overall premise of the book was certainly a cute one. We have our main character, Nate, who is horribly unlucky. As in, the worst luck that you could possibly imagine. He goes mini golfing with his best friend, Genesis for his birthday, and things certainly don't go according to planned. Nate is indirectly struck by lightning, saved by Gen giving him CPR while they waited for help to arrive. From that point forward, everything for Nate changes and his life completely turns around.

This book certainly had some merit and lessons that I believe are relevant for children of this age. It was a story about the underdog becoming popular, trying to deal with that new situation, and then realizing that maybe being popular is not the most important thing. While I think it was quite relevant, I don't think that it was extremely unique. It's a story that I believe that we see pretty frequently. Still, I did enjoy the writing, and I thought the voice was very nice to read. It was a fun addition.

The only true negative I have about the book was just how sad it was. We start by learning that Nate lives with his grandfather because both of his parents were killed by a drunk driver when he was young. While things pick up for a little while throughout the book, it does go back to being sad and did not have an ending I was quite hoping for, which was disappointing. It did not ruin the book for me, but it did have me wondering if the ending could have been handled differently. Overall, this book was an enjoyable read, and I am sure that some of my students would really enjoy it.

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0

Praise for Lucky Strike by Bobbie Pyron:

"This well-told story of growth, friendship, and small-town life hits all the right notes. The quirkiness of the characters and the town never goes too far, and there is an overall cozy feeling to the book. Genesis’s dad is the preacher at The Church of the One True Redeemer and Everlasting Light, but she is a scientist through and through, which adds complexity to the text, including musings on destiny, fate, probability, and weather. Fans of Susan Patron’s Higher Power of Lucky (S. & S., 2006), Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky (Dial, 2012), and Ingrid Law’s Savvy (2008; both, Dial) will find something new for their to-read shelves."- School Library Journal starred review "Even lightly sketched characters leap off the pages, adding rich depth to an already satisfying tale. In the slightly fantastical Gulf Coast world that Bobbie Pyron (The Dogs of Winter, 2012) has imagined, people can change in unexpected ways. With just a spark of magic, bullies can become true friends, those without humor can learn to giggle, and perennial victims can emerge victorious. Amusing, endearing and sometimes even electrifying."- Kirkus starred review "Bobbie Pyron offers a gentler take on survival and friendship than in her gritty novel The Dogs of Winter. A dramatic and sweetly poignant story, enlivened by a dash of magical realism."- Publisher Weekly

Praise for The Dogs of Winter:

Junior Library Guild Selection Kirkus Best Books of the Year! Packs plenty of punch.” The New York Times "This story is amazing. I read it in one sitting, I couldn't put it down. The writing is captivating and the story is heartbreaking. The characters are wonderful, both the good and the bad. The writing is descriptive and filled with emotion. An absolute MUST read."-Bev Sharp, The Wormhole "An amazing story that was emotional and realistic? The book is written in first person, and I think this is a perfect story for young adults and older adults alike. The tenacity of the dogs and the boy will enthrall you. There were no boring portions of the story, and I believe that the author captured the emotions of the characters perfectly. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future."-Ruth  A. Hill, My Devotional Thoughts " I loved this book. I loved the writing. I loved the characters. The book is adventurous, engaging, happy, sad, and an overall emotional roller coaster all rolled into one."-BookAngel, As I Turn the Pages "Bobbie Pyron has a gift for creating characters that live in my heart.  She did it with A Dog's Way Homeand she's done it with this one, The Dogs of Winter.  I wanted to dive into the story, take Mishka in my arms and just love him.  Bobbie Pyron has created an emotionally powerful story about survival, love, and healing.  This is not a story I will ever forget.  It is a truly thought-provoking and unforgettable read."-Heidi, GEO Librarian

About Bobbie Pyron:

Bobbie Pyron Outside

Bobbie Pyron was born in Hollywood, Florida and spent her growing up years up in the panhandle, swimming in the Gulf of Mexico and dreaming of being a mermaid.  She has degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, and a Masters degree in Library Science, and has worked as a librarian for over twenty-five years. Her first book, a novel for teens titled The Ring (WestSide Books), was published in October of 2009. Her second book, A Dog’s Way Home (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books), was published to starred reviews in March of 2011. The Dog Writers Association of America recently awarded Bobbie the Maxwell Medal of Excellence and the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award.  It was also named a Banks Street Best Books of the Year. Bobbie Pyron's book, The Dogs of Winter (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic), came out October of 2012. The Dogs of Winter is a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Kirkus Best 100 Children’s Books of the Year. Bobbie lives in Park City, Utah with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. Bobbie Pyron's Website. Twitter: Facebook:

Buy 'Lucky Strike':

Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository Indie Bound

Follow the Tour:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Apr 2  Spotlight & Giveaway Rockin' Book Reviews Apr 7 Interview & Giveaway Hott Books Apr 8 Review Always Reiding Apr 9 Review & Excerpt Geo Librarian Apr 10 Review Curling Up With A Good Book Apr, 13 Interview & Excerpt fuonlyknew Apr 14 Review & Giveaway Once Upon A Story Apr 15 Review & Excerpt Beneath the Jacket Reviews Apr 16 Indie Review Behind the Scenes Apr 17 Live I 6 pm cst Cassandra M's Place Apr 20 Review & Giveaway The Crypto-Caper Review Apr 21 Review In Bed With Books Apr 22 Review,Interview & Excerpt Allison's Book Bag May 24 Review & Interview Mary's Cup of Tea Apr 27 Review Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 28 Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Bound for Escape Apr 30 Review What U Talking Bout Willis? May 1 Review Lisa's Writopia May 4 Review Books, Books, and More Books May 5 Review & Excerpt Beth's Book-Nook Blog May 8 Review Sweet Southern Home May 11 Review One Frugal Girl May 15 Review


  1. Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm glad you enjoyed 'Lucky Strike' and think some of your students would enjoy it as well.

  2. Are you paying more than $5 / pack of cigarettes? I buy all my cigs at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 60% on cigarettes.


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