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The Lucky Kind Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375867856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375867859
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,248,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with Author Alyssa Sheinmel
The characters are so well drawn and the emotions ring true. Does this book have a personal connection for you?
Well, first of all, thank you! To be honest, I think every book I write has a personal connection for me; even though I never went through much of what the characters in The Lucky Kind go through, many of the characters’ traits are inspired by real people and real stories.

For example, early in the book, Nick tells a story about his father, to explain what a brave but gentle person his dad is. When Nick was nine years old, he was with his dad in the town where his father grew up and he saw some older boys trying to steal bicycles outside the video store where he and his father were shopping. Now, Nick’s father isn’t based on my father, and Nick certainly isn’t based on me, but that story is true. When I was about nine years old, I was with my dad at a video store in the town where he grew up. My dad saw what was happening before I did; he asked me to stay inside the store while he went outside for a second. Of course, I didn’t stay where he told me--I went to the window to see what he was doing. And just as Nick watched his dad, I watched my dad talk two teen boys out of stealing two bikes. And just like Nick, I believe that my dad, with his reasonable arguments, actually convinced them.

How did you find writing from the boy perspective? Was this a stretch, especially when he treats his girlfriend badly?
I loved, loved writing from the boy perspective! One of my favorite things about being a writer is getting to play ventriloquist. I recommend it to any aspiring writers out there--write from the perspective of someone of the opposite sex, from someone much older than you are, from someone who is as different from you as you can imagine. It can be a challenge, but it can also be exciting. Personally, writing Nick, I felt like sometimes I got to behave badly, which was kind a thrill.

And, as it turned out, Nick’s voice came very naturally to me; I loved writing Nick. I never actually made a conscious decision to write this novel from a boy’s perspective, but as the idea for the story developed, it was just a boy’s voice that popped into my head, narrating the novel. I hesitated about it at first--would people buy my interpretation of a teen boy’s voice? Could I make it ring true? But I couldn’t have written the story any other way. Frankly, I simply didn’t have a choice!

What kind of research, if any, did you do about adoption in order to get the details right?
As far as I know, I’d gone most of my life without being personally touched by adoption (aside from the running joke in my family that I must have been secretly adopted, because I don’t look like my mother and sister, and am about five inches taller than the both of them). But all at once, a few years ago, I became close with several people who’d been adopted, and a very dear friend confided to having actually given up a child for adoption.

I began to think a lot about adoption. Two of the adopted adults that I’d met had no interest in finding their birth parents, and that was endlessly fascinating to me. I wondered how I would feel, had I been adopted. Around that same time, I read a remarkable book called The Girls Who Went Away, about women who’d been essentially forced to give up their children for adoption in the years before the Roe vs. Wade decision. The book spoke to the long-term effects that giving up these babies had had on the women who bore them, and on their families, years later. It was heartbreaking and deeply moving; I couldn’t put the book down. But I was also struck by the fact that mostly the birth mothers’ stories were told. The biological fathers were barely mentioned. I began to wonder about the effects that giving up children for adoption had on fathers; surely some of these fathers were every bit as deeply touched by the experience as the mothers had been.

And I thought, most of all, about my friend who’d given up a child for adoption. My thoughts were often not about the baby who had been given up, but about the family my friend was going to go on to have someday. I couldn’t stop thinking about that future family—that spouse, those children—and the impact that an adoption that had taken place so many years earlier might have on that future family. I couldn’t get that idea out of my head, and that’s where the story for The Lucky Kind began.


"Sheinmel takes her family story into some genuinely fresh and interesting territory, resisting soap-operatic details of scandal and home-wreckage...The well-crafted family story offers an excellent stage for depicting the challenge facing every young adult - how to accept human responsibility and frailty as we go through life." - The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The Lucky Kind is an honest, powerful and emotional look at family secrets and falling in love." - Justine

"The first-person narration is honest and compelling, and the book's thoughtful nature will appeal to readers who like more introspective realistic fiction." - School Library Journal

"The storyline urges readers to think not only about adoption and the role of family, but about how they themselves relate to those around them, urging them, ultimately, to practice compassion." -  The Atlanta Young Adult Literature Examiner

"Sheinmel effectively uses a breezy, often humorous first-person voice that's deceptively slight in its handling of deep issues, even as Nick does the hard emotional work to pull himself out of the depths of his self-pity." - Kirkus Reviews

"Teen readers will be touched by the unexpected friendship and change of heart that will help him [Nick] put his life back together again." -

"A charming, entertaining read." - The Tennessee Herald Citizen

"Any readers who enjoy passionate, teenage romantic dramas should revel in The Lucky Kind." -

"A good story about first loves and family, this is a book both teenage boys and girls will relate to." - Parkersburg News and Sentinel

"Alyssa Sheinmel's The Lucky Kind is a charming story about teenage love." - Angela Johnson, Cleveland Plain-Dealer

More About the Author

I was born in Stanford, California, and even though I moved across the country to New York when I was six years old, I still think of myself as a California girl.

When I was little, I pretended that I didn't like to read, because my sister loved to read, and I wanted to be different. (I also pretended that I didn't like pizza, because it was her favorite food, I still get sad when I think of all the delicious pizza dinners I missed out on.) By the time I was eight, it was too hard to pretend I didn't like to read, because the truth was that reading was my favorite thing in the world. I loved it so much that when there was nothing to read, I wrote my own stories just to give myself something to read. And when there was no pen and paper to be had, I made up stories and acted them out by myself. I played all the parts, and I was never bored.

When I was eleven years old, I began going to a school in Manhattan called Spence. The teachers there were very supportive of my reading and writing. One teacher there encouraged me to read F. Scott Fitzgerald, and another introduced me to magical realism, and another tried to convince me that there was more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing. (She was right, of course.) And still another let me write a sequel to one of my favorite novels and call it a school project, even though I would have done in my spare time just for the fun of it.

After Spence, I went across town to Barnard College. Once again, I had some of the best teachers in the world encouraging me to write, and introducing me to new authors. One of my very favorite teachers told me to read Joan Didion (and I didn't thank him enough for that), and my other favorite insisted that there was nothing more to Ernest Hemingway than lessons in fly fishing (and I argued with her a lot about that).

After college, I got a job working in an office where I wore high heels and blazers and even the occasional stiff-collared blouse. I thought I would write on the side, but after a while, I stopped writing altogether - for over a year, I didn't write a word except in my journal, a very strange thing for a girl who wrote stories from pretty much the time that she learned how to hold a pen.

But then, when I was 24, I began working at a new job, and the people there introduced me to great new writers, just like the teachers I'd had in school. I began to miss writing. It was boring when I wasn't making up stories to keep myself entertained. And so - slowly, just for the fun of it - I began writing again, and in a couple years I had written the story that would become The Beautiful Between.

I still don't write every day; sometimes I get caught up in other things, and sometimes I'd just rather park myself in front of the TV and watch reruns of The West Wing. But I always find my way back to my computer; I always remember just how much fun writing really is. And the great thing about writing - at least in my experience - is that it comes out best when you're doing it for the very, very fun of it.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
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2 star
1 star
See all 8 customer reviews
Personally, I like my books to have closure at the end.
A. Jacobs
Not perfect as in nothing was wrong with him, but he was the picture perfect representation of a great best friend.
Although there certainly are boys who are emotional, it doesn't ring true here.
Kelly Jensen (STACKED Books blog)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on June 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"My girlfriend has thick brown hair and skinny white legs and a dark brown freckle hidden behind her right knee. Every weekday morning she meets Stevie and me, and together we lean against the pizza place and watch the underclassmen and feel infinitely superior. Then Stevie goes inside, and Eden and I sneak around the corner and kiss until our lips are sore, or until we realize that we're going to be late for class."

To an outsider, Nick might seem like the type of guy who would never stand a chance with a girl like Eden Reiss. Nick is a little socially awkward and definitely not smooth with girls. His approach is unrefined, and he tends to be rather blunt, while Eden is graceful, highly intelligent, and a legendary, pure beauty. Just looking at her seems to make Nick feel emotional and outclassed. Yet while his advances were openly clumsy and nerdy in those first days of dating, somehow the stars aligned. Through some lucky turn of fate, Eden became his. From their first conversation, her eyes were somehow opened to his values; she recognized and loved the qualities unique to Nick.

Eden and Nick were immediately crazy about each other and never once measured the other against anyone else. They possess the gift of seeing the other for who they really are and, without a doubt, have found real love. Even in youth and inexperience, this is the kind of love that is intensely powerful, that fills you up and leaves you so contented that nothing else matters. They've been physical, yes; couples tend to do that. Their passion is intense and overwhelming. But make no mistake, they're much more than just high school sweethearts; they're a couple who have found something exceedingly rare.
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By Courtney on January 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Alyssa Sheinmel and one thing that I especially admire about this book is the perspective from a boy's point of view. It is a departure from her other books, but it totally works. Also the story of identity, friendship, love, and family is particularly resonant.
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By Little Willow on January 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
What do you do when you realize your parents are people - people who make mistakes, people who had lives before you were born? What happens in that moment - and what happens afterwards?

Ask Nick Brandt, the main character in Alyssa B. Sheinmel's new novel The Lucky Kind. Nick's a junior at a private school in New York and, up until now, his life has been pretty solid. He's not the best student, but he's not the worst. He's the only child of two attentive parents. He's got a crush on a girl named Eden who is as intriguing as her name suggests. Nick and his best friend Stevie are as thick as thieves. Almost like brothers.

Then Nick discovers that he has a brother. A flesh-and-blood brother, born to his father's college girlfriend twenty-nine years ago and given up for adoption. His father's always known about his first son, and though he told his wife about his firstborn years ago, he didn't tell Nick. But now that Nick knows the truth, there's no way for him to forget it - and he can't see his parents the same way anymore. In the light of his father's lifelong lie - or omission of truth - Nick's home, his childhood memories, and his family's routines all seem tainted somehow.

I don't want to reveal too much here; I actually didn't want to tell you gentle readers about Nick's brother, but if I hadn't, this would have been an extremely vague, short, and unsatisfying review. To discover the circumstances under which Nick discovers the existence of his older brother and what happens to his family - which includes Stevie and Eden just as much as his blood relatives - check out The Lucky Kind. Make sure you also pick up The Beautiful Between, Alyssa B. Sheinmel's memorable debut novel.
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Format: Hardcover
Nick Brandt is a lucky kid, so he believes. He is a junior at an exclusive Manhattan high school, has the greatest parents a kid could want, a best buddy who is more like family and he knows this is the year he talks to Eden, his crush since elementary school. One night Nick answers a mysterious phone call. The caller asks for his father by a name he rarely uses, and when told Mr. Brandt is not home, the caller hangs up.

Eventually, Nick realizes his parents have been keeping an important family secret from him for many years, and decides he may no longer be able to trust his parents. While his home life hits a snag, his relationship with Eden grows by leaps and bounds. Then Nick finds out what, or rather who, the secret is and his entire world starts to spin and sputter.

This is a good book. Why? The characters are believable, the scenario plausible for any teen today with Baby-Boomer parents, and the writing will have you glued to the pages. I think I took a couple of little breaks, and I mean little, while I read this in one sitting. Nick finds out a family secret only he did not know, and it makes it angry. His girlfriend, Eden, learns her parents are divorcing and she is upset. These two emotions play off each other bringing the two teens closer.

Once Nick learns the secret is arriving for Christmas, he loses it, feeling he has lost his perfect little family and his place in it. The anger grows and starts to take out those around him. I could feel his indignation, but at the same time, I got frustrated with the way he was acting. Reading this was like watching a soap I watch regularly and yell at the TV as if the actors and scenes are real. The Lucky Kind is that involving. It pulls you in that deep.
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