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If You’re Lucky

If You're Lucky
Yvonne Prinz
Juvenile Fiction
Algonquin Books

Is Georgia's mind playing tricks on her, or is the entire town walking into the arms of a killer who has everyone but her fooled? When seventeen-year-old Georgia's brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky's death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn't have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky's best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky's father, charming Lucky's mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life? Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky's death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she's getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she's saying. As the chilling narrative unfolds, the reader must decide whether Georgia's descent into madness is causing her to see things that don't exist-or to see a deadly truth that no one else can. "A remarkable page-turner . . . Keep[s] readers wondering, twist by twist, if Georgia's universe will simply burst apart." --Andrew Smith, author of "Grasshopper Jungle"



In what is a rarity in young adult books, the topic of schizophrenia is tackled head-on in “If You’re Lucky”, a taut thriller that leaves the readers as confused as the narrator as to what is real and what is not.

Georgia, the main character, is a teenager with paranoid schizophrenia who is dealing with the loss of her brother Lucky, the town’s golden boy.  One of his best friends shows up to the memorial and creates a whirlwind of emotions for her.  Georgia is an extremely well-developed character, and her descent into a schizophrenic episode is written beautifully.  It truly feels as though you are trying to navigate the world through the distortion in her mind.  This adds a great deal of twists and turns to the mystery of what happened to Lucky.  The rest of the characters are also well-developed and relatable, with my favorite being Fin.  I won’t say anything else about him because it may ruin some of the reading experience.

I loved the plot and found it to be the perfect mix of thriller and standard mystery.  At some points I literally had goosebumps from the creepiness. However, the reason for me giving three stars instead of four is because of the plot.  It seemed to begin slowly, and while the entire book is well-written, I didn’t realize I was actually into it until I was about a third of the way through.  This points to a slight problem with the pacing.  It would have been nice to add a bit of “oomph” to the setup.

In spite of the slight pacing problem, I still wholeheartedly recommend “If You’re Lucky” to those who enjoy mysteries and thrillers.  There is some adult content, but it is still a safe choice for middle schoolers and up as long as they’re not opposed to things that can be disturbing.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Brief Sexual Situations, Violence, Underage Drinking