Thing about Luck

Thing about Luck

3.67 (4,118 ratings by Goodreads)
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The winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Kadohata. There is bad luck, good luck, and making your own luck--which is exactly what Summer must do to save her family. Summer knows that kouun means "good luck" in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan--right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills. The thing about Obaachan and Jiichan is that they are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer just barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss's cute son. But notice she does, and what begins as a welcome distraction from the hard work soon turns into a mess of its own. Having thoroughly disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished--but then it gets worse. And when that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family. Cynthia Kadohata's ode to the breadbasket of America has received six starred reviews and was selected as a National Book Award Finalist.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 269 pages
  • 130 x 194 x 28mm | 320g
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • English
  • 1416918825
  • 9781416918820
  • 566,439

Review quote

"Twelve-year-old Summer and her Japanese-American family work every harvest season to earn money to pay their mortgage. But this year, they face unprecedented physical and emotional challenges. It has been a particularly hard-luck year. Among other strange occurrences, Summer was bitten by a stray, diseased mosquito and nearly died of malaria, and her grandmother suffers from sudden intense spinal pain. Now her parents must go to Japan to care for elderly relatives. So Summer, her brother and their grandparents must take on the whole burden of working the harvest and coping with one emergency after another. She writes a journal chronicling the frightening and overwhelming events, including endless facts about the mosquitoes she fears, the harvest process and the farm machinery that must be conquered. As the season progresses, her relationships with her grandparents and her brother change and deepen, reflecting her growing maturity. Her grandparents' Japanese culture and perspective are treated lovingly and with gentle humor, as are her brother's eccentricities. Kadohata makes all the right choices in structure and narrative. Summer's voyage of self-discovery engages readers via her narration, her journal entries and diagrams, and even through her assigned book report of "A Separate Peace". Readers who peel back the layers of obsessions and fears will find a character who is determined, compassionate and altogether delightful."
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Rating details

4,118 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 24% (1,004)
4 34% (1,387)
3 31% (1,257)
2 8% (342)
1 3% (128)
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