Released: October 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
An impressive debut about a rogue group of girls running for their lives in an alternative wild west teeming with the supernatural.
From the publisher:
Aster, the protector
Violet, the favorite
Tansy, the medic
Mallow, the fighter
Clementine, the catalyst
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls- they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings, trapped in a life they would never have chosen. When Clementine accidentally kills a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things.
Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
Go read this book right now. I’ll wait.
All right, now that you’re back let’s talk about how awesome The Good Luck Girls is. I picked it up one evening thinking I would read a couple chapters to get a feel for it, but then the next thing I knew it was the middle of the night and I was already halfway through the book. I really had to force myself to put it down at that point.
It was so engrossing from the get-go, immediately drawing me in. We went from one harrowing event to another, my heart in my throat as I read page after page following these daring and tragic girls.
The premise and world building were stellar, giving a breath of life into the YA fantasy genre. This taking place in a wild west type of world would have been great enough on its own, but the supernatural elements woven throughout the story added a surprisingly believable depth to it.
Not only did they have to run from the lawmen after them, but they had to constantly stay ahead of things like the vengeful spirits that live throughout the desolate land. Spirits who are even more violent and deadly than the humans on their trail.
Up against a never ending list of foes, these girls’ harrowing quest for freedom was intense. I kept finding myself unable to stop reading because I had to know what happened next. It didn’t help that they kept getting themselves into sticky situations either! At times I just wanted to scream at the pages when the girls kept doing really reckless things, especially when they had already just narrowly escaped a previous calamity. It was quite a heart-pounding ride reading The Good Luck Girls, let me tell you.
The book is told from the point of view of Aster, elder sister to Clementine. She is fiercely devoted to her sister and her friends, seeing herself as their protector. I was so impressed with how no matter how dire their situation became, she never once faltered in her belief that they would get out of it.
Also, despite having led a horrific life up to that point and going through her most difficult trial yet, she still managed to show a softer side once in awhile. Especially when it came to her sister and friends. It made her far more sympathetic, rounded out, and easier to understand.
One of the plot devices that really irks me with female characters in fantasy and science fiction is how angry they are all the time, especially in YA books. I mean, I get it, men are generally infuriating (haha), but even so I don’t understand why we only ever see this angry side of them. It makes it hard to like these characters sometimes as well as understand how the people in their lives can put up with all the hostility.
Please don’t think I’m saying something like, “You’d be prettier if you smiled more!” I’m definitely not. I just think women are far more complex than some writers give them credit for and how they’re portrayed should reflect that.
There were a few little niggling things for me preventing this from being a full 5 stars, but I left with an overall sense of having read a fantastic piece of fiction so any problems I had didn’t impact the story too negatively.
The only real issue I had is the characters at times felt a bit stereotypical and we didn’t really get to learn much about them other than Aster, Clementine, and Violet. Hopefully further books in the series will give us more on all the girls and their points of view, especially Violet. She was a very complex character I’d love to learn more about.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the serious cover-love I have for this book. Generally I’m not a huge fan of modern books that have pictures of people on them because I like to be able to imagine the characters on my own. However, this cover is gorgeous and I love every single thing about it. It really adds to what is already a wonderful story.
Young adult fantasy is a very over-saturated market these days, but The Good Luck Girls is an outstanding addition to the genre and it definitely sets itself apart. Full of action, emotion, and imagination, this was an absolutely smashing debut.
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