Reviews on our favorite and newest teen and tween books!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Luck for the Luckless

The Luck of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker

Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Published: April 2011 (Candlewick Press)

The Luck of the Buttons by Anne Ylvisaker is a story about a twelve-year-old girl, Tugs Button. Tugs is from a long line of luckless, somewhat unhappy and completely undistinguished family, who consider the eating of pie to be a sign that something is wrong. Needless to say, nobody expects much from the Button family. One day Tugs meets a young charismatic gentleman, Harvey Moore, who plans to start a newspaper to bring progress to the small town. As the town of Goodhue is swept up in the anticipation of the newspaper’s promised publication, Tugs finds a mystery and sets out to solve it. Armed with her Brownie camera that she won in a raffle and backed by several unlikely characters, Tugs will start a journey that proves that luck may just be attainable for those who look for it.

I loved this book. Not only did the cover art win me over, but the story did too. It was adorable, and I must admit that I am a sucker for cutesy stories. Tugs was such a charming and spunky character, I couldn’t help but laugh and get swept up into the plot. Although the plot was straightforward, I felt that it delivered a great young heroine, an upbeat tale, and a wonderful message: You are what you make of yourself. Despite the fact that this book is targeted to a younger audience, I feel that it can be appreciated by people outside of the intended audience, as long as the reader is not looking for anything overly profound or complex. Great characters populated the book. Most were flat, but they were likeable, especially Tugs, Granddaddy Ike, and Aggie. Although development for secondary characters was lacking, Tugs definitely was a figure that was responsive to the environment and grew throughout the book. The story does use terms and phrases that are typical for the time setting, so be ready for that when reading the book, though it didn’t detract from the story at all. In fact, I think it enhanced the authentic, rustic feel of the story line. On a more nitpicky note, some of the wording in the beginning was a bit awkward, but for the most part, that was my only real complaint. As long as the reader goes in with the expectation that this story is a quick, easy, and fun read, it will be enjoyed. I acknowledge that this book is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. I liked it but others may not. I would recommend The Luck of the Buttons to someone who is searching for a fun-loving, at times silly, but completely charming tale. This book was given as an ARC from Candlewick Press.

---Posted by Lauren G.

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