Middle Grade Author Shannon Whitney Messenger began Marvelous Middle Grade Mondays a while back. If you love middle grade literature, check out her blog for a list of other sites featuring MG books.
Here’s how Goodreads describes Beyond Lucky by Sarah Aronson: Ari Fish believes in two things: his hero-Wayne Timcoe, the greatest soccer goalie to ever come out of Somerset Valley-and luck. So when Ari finds a rare and valuable Wayne Timcoe trading card, he’s sure his luck has changed for the better. Especially when he’s picked to be the starting goalie on his team. But when the card is stolen-and his best friend and the new girl on the team accuse each other of taking it-suddenly Ari can’t save a goal, everyone is fighting, and he doesn’t know who, or what, to believe in.
Before the team falls apart, Ari must learn how to make his own luck, and figure out what it truly means to be a hero.
Vicki says: One of the themes of this book reminds me of a post I wrote earlier this year about imbuing our characters with heroic qualities. In that post I mentioned that Jimmy Carter used to be my hero, because of his humanitarian endeavors. But in his last book (and in his defense of it), Mr. Carter made some comments that many people found offensive, and basically meant that this politically-aware Jewish girl couldn’t continue to keep him on such a high pedestal.
Ari goes through a similar experience. What do you do when your heroes are found to have “feet of clay?” Heroes are human, too, but we tend to hold them to a higher standard. What happens when they can’t live up to our standards?
This is the kind of theme that gets me in the heart and the head. Combine it with tight writing, good characterizations, and a well-woven plot, and you have the makings of a GOAL! Not just any goal, of course, but the goal that leads to winning the league championship for the first time in fifteen years.
I originally picked up Beyond Lucky to see if A-Read would like it. His teacher wants him to broaden his horizons beyond fantasy. Like Ari, he loves soccer, and he will be studying for his Bar Mitzvah in a few years. (You do not need to be Jewish to appreciate this book.) While I loved this book and highly recommend it to MG readers, Beyond Lucky is a little beyond my 8-year-old. But he will read it one day. Definitely.
Who are your heroes? Do they continue to live up to your ideals?