These Unlucky Stars

Bloomsbury. Mar. 2021. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781547605385.
Gr 4-7–Annie feels like she has no control over her life because she was born under an unlucky star, or so her mother said before she left. So it makes sense that when she dares to play ding dong ditch on an elderly lady’s door, Annie causes the woman to fall and break her arm. It figures that she’ll have to help take care of her throughout the summer, when all she really wants is to help design the float for the family store in the town festival. And, of course, her dad and brother don’t want her help. What starts out as an unlucky break turns into a summer of healing, as Annie and Gloria gain new insights into what makes good life. McDunn includes illustrations drawn by Annie to transition throughout the book, which provide a glimpse into Annie’s thoughts. Annie eventually realizes that luck cannot dictate her life, but it grows tiresome watching her blame her poor decisions on bad luck, though the chapters are short enough for reluctant readers. Annie does show spunk, and readers will appreciate her insights: “Ugh. This is so typical. When girls do something nice, it’s an expectation. When boys do something nice, it’s a celebration.” Annie and her family are white, her friend Faith is described as having brown skin, and there is an LGBTQ+ couple.
VERDICT A fair realistic fiction read, but there are others that do the job better. A secondary purchase.

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