Chasing Lucky – Jenn Bennett – Simon Pulse – Published 10 November 2020
Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.
What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.
Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…
Well, Jenn Bennett has done it again. Just when I thought I was in a book slump that would last forever, Jenn swept in with her tales growing up, dealing with complicated family circumstances, aching and swoony romance. Combined with addictive storytelling, I rejoiced in having found such a wonderful book once again. If you are a fan of Jenn Bennett’s other books (and by that I mean you’ve read one) you will be delighted by Chasing Lucky.
Josie knows how to pack light. She’s used to throwing together her things as her mother moves them from town to town, sometimes in the dead of night. Ever since the great blow up between her mother and grandmother when she was 12, Josie has been on the move. Now, thanks to her grandmother taking an overseas trip, Josie and her mother are finally returning to their hometown, Beauty. Confronted by her past, her ex-best friend and now rather gorgeous Lucky Karras, a chance to realise her dreams of moving to live with her professional photographer father and maybe even get to the bottom of her mother’s history in Beauty, Josie’s return is far from smooth but it might also be everything she’s looking for.
There is so much I could talk about this book. I could wax poetic about Josie’s dealing with bullies and sexual harassment. I could talk about the complex family relationships, Josie’s mother’s secret past and the hurt she carries. I could reflect on the charming, coastal small-town setting that is as sweet as it is horribly set in its ways. I could tell you about Josie’s photography, the photo captions that start each chapter, the threads of the story that bring everything together. But. But I know you really just want to know about the romance, so let’s talk about that, shall we?
By gosh the romance!! I love best friend romance when it’s done right and it is done so right in this book. Lucky and Josie were once best friends. Until Josie and her mother suddenly left town and Lucky, having just suffered a huge personal trauma, never wrote back to Josie. Josie and Lucky are both carrying a lot of hurt from the past and it takes them a while to work through it all. As they work through and around the problems they face (love Josie’s plotting!!) they slowly learn to trust again and they finally explore the possibility of more than friendship between them. And if you’ve read any of Jenn Bennett’s other books, you’ll know sometimes things can get a little steamy. But it is so incredibly sweet and romantic!!! Sigh.
Seriously, you’re gonna love this one. That is all.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Themes: Family, photography, bullying, sexual abuse, mother-daughter relationships, romance, boats and boating, parents, abusive realationships.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Sexual references, sex scene with some details. References to sexual harassment, nude photographs and sexual abuse. References to abusive relationships. Coarse language, F*** (4), sh** (31), bit** (1), sl** (1), as***** (15), di** (4), pi** (2).
Published: 14 July 2020 by Simon Pulse.
Format: Hardcover, paperback, ebook. 416 pages.