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Book Review: In ‘10 Lucky Things,’ Change is a Novel Idea

Mary Hershey's '10 Lucky Things That Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightning' exudes grace and humor.

Effeline Maloney is back in Santa Barbara author Mary Hershey‘s latest book, 10 Lucky Things That Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightning, the charming sequel to My Big Sister Is So Bossy She Says You Can’t Read This Book.

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It has been three years since we left Effie stranded with her bossy sister, Maxey, her single mother and no best friends.

Maxey is still bossy, and her single mother is more harried than ever, but at long last, Effie has found not one, but two, best friends to cope with life’s challenges.

It is lucky for her that she has two best friends to share the burdens with, because her life quickly becomes complicated by the addition of a man to this household of women. This is not just any man, but a man straight out of her mother’s past.

Frank is a priest in need of a place to stay while he ponders his future with the church, which is calling him to leave a ministry he loves to serve as a desk jockey.

This throws Effie’s life into turmoil as she is forced to face her feelings about her absent father, and the thought that her single mother might just possibly be looking for love. Neither of these options is palatable to Effie, and she is hostile toward Frank’s presence in their lives, never missing a chance to let her mother know how much better life would be without him-or any man.

As if this weren’t enough, one of Effie’s new best friends is forced by her family’s circumstances to transfer to a new school. Effie resents letting Aurora go, and tries to keep their friendship unchanged.

This is even less successful than her attempts to shut Frank out of her life. Effie cannot stop Aurora from changing or from making new friends. All Effie can do is to change her own reactions to events, and so to find a way to keep Aurora’s friendship.

This is a novel about change, and how difficult it is to accept. Effie continually wants to return to an idyllic time that never really existed while shutting herself off to the joys that these changes will bring to her young life.

Hershey’s tale is at its best when she lets this young woman speak for herself with grace and humor as she struggles with holding on to what is good while accepting the best of the new.

10 Lucky Things, for readers age 10 or older, will be available in July.

» 10 Lucky Things That Have Happened to Me Since I Nearly Got Hit by Lightning
» By Mary Hershey
» Random House Children’s Books
» ISBN 13: 9780385735414
» Hardcover, 240 pages
» Available in July

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