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on October 1, 2008
Nicholas Sparks
Grand Central Publishing
Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 0-446-57993-9
326 pages
Reviewer: Annie Slessman

You can bet if Nicholas Sparks puts a book out there, it is going to sell. This scenario is due to his expertise as a storyteller extraordinaire. His latest work, The Lucky One will be touted by readers as one of his best works. Having written books like Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, readers know what they can expect when they buy a Nicholas Sparks book...great characters, great storyline and an electricity that stays with you long after you have finished reading the story.

Sparks main character in The Lucky One is ex-marine, Logan Thibault. Logan has served three tours of duty in Iraq and believes his survival is due to a lucky picture he found of an unknown woman. Once he completes his tour of duty, he walks from Colorado to Hampton, North Carolina in search of the woman in the picture.

Once he arrives in North Carolina, he takes a job at a dog training facility where he meets Nana, the elderly owner of the facility, Elizabeth, her granddaughter and her young son, Ben. Elizabeth, he discovers is the woman in his lucky picture.

The storyline stays true and builds to an exciting climax. There are stories within this story that adds story interest. Sparks knows how to build a story and keep a reader anxiously turning pages.

If you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you won't be disappointed with this work. If you have never read Nicholas Sparks, this work is a great starting point.

Nicholas Sparks is the author of fourteen best selling works of fiction. Several if his works have been adapted to movies. Sparks and his family lie in the Carolinas.
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on February 9, 2012
I always like to start my reviews by giving a little bit about myself away. I'm a 17 year old male high school student who reads voraciously. I constantly vary my tastes from horror to mystery to literature to romance. I've never read Nicholas Sparks before, but I saw the movie The Notebook and literally balled my eyes out. So, I'm not exactly the target audience for Sparks' work, but I still felt like I should check it out.

"The Lucky One" is about Logan Thibault, a US Marine who travels across the country in search of a mysterious woman in a photograph he believes to have been his lucky charm during his service in Iraq. There are a few twists and turns, but overall it's a straightforward tale and plays out pretty decently.

And I think that's really the main flaw of this book: everything is just "decent" and "mediocre". It gets the job done. There's no risks, no shining prose, no super emotional stuff that really bonds you to the characters. Most things are taken at surface level. This isn't a bad thing if it's what you're looking for in a book. But this is not a deep, passionate, love story either.

Nicholas Sparks isn't a wordsmith poet. He uses blessedly simple prose that tells the story fast and effectively. The only problem is, he's catering to an audience... or more likely what he thinks of an audience. Many subjects are broached upon by all of our three narrators, multiple times, one after the other. For example, when Protagonist A gets worried about their kid because Protagonist B is being a jerk and Protagonist C doesn't like it, we get to see and hear about it three times, from all three directions. This mildly interesting device very quickly wears thin and becomes tedious as the book goes on.

The structure of the story also leaves a lot to be desired. It's starts out strong, the forward action only briefly interrupted by some expository flashbacks. But then, those flashbacks don't really stop... ever. Every time something interesting occurs in the present, Logan will need to relate it back to his days in the Marines, or his fishing trip with his friend, Vinny. This screws pacing up, a lot. So, then, by the middle of the book, when all of the plot threads start getting laid out, the exposition hasn't finished yet, and the middle really drags on. Luckily, everything picks up for the last 1/4 of the book, when real danger strikes and people start to actually do things.

But the ending isn't perfect. By no means. It will satisfy even the most skeptical reader, because it wraps many things up in one swift move. But, at times, the climax does seem a little Soap Opera-ey, with characters responding to rumors and predictable, but still exciting developments playing out. Also, the Epilogue uses a cheap trick to make the reader feel any emotion at all. Tsk. Tsk.

The characters in this book are probably its one flaw, with, of course, the delightful exception of Nana. Logan, Keith, and Ben are all basically one-trick ponies. They don't ever go too far into the land of archetypes, but they never evolve past cardboard static characters. Beth is a decent character, but not because she actually *does* much, more just because she has some active opinions and sometimes acts on them. The best character is Nana, who sounds the most human out of all of them and adds some much needed humor to this bland mixture.

In conclusion, this was my first Nicholas Sparks novel, and it will be my last for a long time. I don't want to give up on him entirely, but I think my tastes are better suited elsewhere, at least for the time being. Maybe in a year or two, I'll pick up The Notebook or one of his newer novels, and give him another shot. For now, I'll stick to my other favorites.

I Recommend this book to anyone who:
- Is from the South, specifically the Carolinas
- Loves Dogs
- Likes the classic idea of "family"
- Is happy when justice gets served to the bad guys
- Likes realistic drama
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on October 10, 2008
After seeing this book was #2 on the NYT bestseller's list, I read the jacket and dove in. The book starts extremely well with a modern and interesting narrative. The flashback scenes are well done and at no time lose the reader.

About 2/3's of the way into the book, the characters become well defined and start to gain a mild complexity. Unfortunately that is where the development stops. In an attempt to create a dramatic ending the book takes on a sit com like aspect. The characters become one dimensional, the story line predictable and you feel the author racing to create a tidy ending.

If the author had further developed the auxiliary characters and ending, it could of been on par with similar books in this genre like "The Bridges of Madison County".
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VINE VOICEon October 3, 2008
This is a wonderful novel, told in a way that is fascinating and enjoyable. Nicolas Sparks knows how to tell a story. The characters are real and believable. I found myself caring about them early in the book. The author has the ability to make people come alive in just a few pages. Once I began to care about them, I was hooked. I couldn't put the book down until I was done. The Lucky One made for a few very enjoyable hours. That is what I want in a book: discovering people that I care about, and a good story to follow them through. It may not be great literature for the ages, but it suits me.

I don't usually read love stories, but I am glad that I found this one. After finishing this novel, I decided to look up the author's other books. I believe that he has written some other good stories that I will enjoy. I believe that you will too.
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on October 31, 2008
I have read all of Nicholas Sparks' novels (except The Rescue and Three Days...), and his latest, The Lucky One, fails to stand out as being one of his better works. The story started off slow, and ended in a hurry. Sparks did succeed in writing a good background story, and the characters in this book were well portrayed. As I read this book, I realized that the characters and plots were very similar to Sparks' earlier novels (such as the dog-human relationship and the love obsession of The Guardian, the war background of Dear John, the storm sequence of Message in a Bottle / Notebook), therefore ruining the originality aspect of the novel. Also, as I was reading the last 20 pages, I felt the story was a bit rush and it gave me the perception that the story ended right after Sparks got the story rolling. I also felt that the epilogue was a little bit forced and it was only there to make a final unnecessary twist to the story. Overall, The Lucky One is not a poorly written novel, but I expected a lot more from Nicholas Sparks than this since he is a veteran romantic genre author. I will still look forward to his next novel, and I hope that will turn out to be an epic love story.
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on September 30, 2008
Here in New Zealand we were lucky to have this book released on th 26th of Septemeber before the States release date. Another perfect book from Nicholas Sparks and is exactly what you come to expect from him. It truly is amazing how he is able to in each of his books capture the audience the way he does and this book is definatley no exception. You are drawn in with this story and makes you really think if there is such a thing as fate, luck, destiny and true love. I highly recommend this to any fan of Sparks and to anyone who wishes to become a fan. You will not be disapointed.
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on October 24, 2008
I have read the reviews by others here, and I am most definitely in the minority. But then, everyone has their own opinion.

I found the book somewhat tedious. Initially, I liked the development of the main character Logan Thibault, as well as the antagonist, Keith Clayton. I thought the development of Beth, the love interest was quite a bit weaker. During some of the chapters developing her character, I found myself scanning and skipping along, rather than absorbing the detail.

The development of the characters of the antagonist and the love interest vacillated in the story telling. In the case of the antagonist (the love interest's possessive ex and father of her son) the author paints him first as a sleeze and then later gives him a decent side, and then back to sleeze again, etc. Very confusing. The love interst character repeatedly switches from being a solid, thinking, quality person to one who flips easily to an irrational/emotional side. Again, disconcerting. One of the late scenes describes her anger at being supposedly duped by Logan. Thereafter, with almost a one sentence reason, she almost instantly reverses herself and goes by to make up after just trashing Logan's life. Either a bad scenario or unrealistic writing.

Finally, the ending just leaps from the exciting danger scene to an epilogue type conclusion, in which the author jumps from the danger scene to several months later, leaving the reader in the dark as to what happened in the interim and how. In the final page (literally), we find that the antagonist died but has miraculously become a beloved father, and, at the same time the protagonist survived. No explanation of the fact that the last time we saw them they were both together, and in the same immediate danger, or how things proceeded from there.

I had not read any Nicholas Sparks books before; I tried this one to see how it would go. Based on the reviews I have read, I'll try one more but this time I think it will be one of his earlier efforts. I am wondering if reading Sparks is like reading Robert Ludlum's writing; which initially was good but ultimately became a caricaturization and lost its originality.
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on November 10, 2009
Don't know why, but every once in a while I get tempted to give this author yet another chance to finally come up with a book that I like. They often seem promising, yet his writing never changes. It is trite and repetitious, he overuses odd phrases, (for example, "'I'm sorry,' he said, meaning it"--page 150... Then on page 153,"'I'm sorry,' he said, meaning it". Oh, so you're trying to say that he is so very sensitive that when he says he's sorry, he means it?) Later, when Logan and Elizabeth are on their first date at that ridiculous restaurant where wait staff and patrons must recite scripted phrases in order to serve or be served, and the college students there jokingly state "We have crabs!", the author actually explains the play on words to the reader. Really? He didn't think we'd get it?
The characters are one dimensional and not believeable or especially likeable. Even the characters you are supposed to dislike are so stereotypical that you don't even care enough to dislike them. It's a shame, because judging by his picture, Nicholas Sparks looks like a very nice guy, and I want to like his books. But they are so predictable, so full of cliches, and so lacking in originality that I really must remind myself the next time I am tempted to read one that, if you've read one, you've read them all.
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on October 2, 2008
Sparks delivers again with another great story with another set of great characters, who's stories all get intertwined and weaved together somehow yet again. I have to admit Sparks has a way of really getting you emotionally involved in his stories, and it's hard to put the book down until you've read cover to cover.

I don't wanna give anything away, but I have to say I was really impressed how Sparks developed and told his story this time making me care for the characters very early on, and I was actually almost shocked to see a "villain" this time around as well. I will admit a few characters and events seemed a little forced here and there, but I find that in a lot of his stories, so it just kinda goes with the territory. Regardless, I was sucked into the story and I enjoyed til the bitter end.

I do have to say this book really makes you think of things such as fate and destiny and whether or not they exist for people. I personally think they do and this story helps solidify that. I also have to say I actually expected a different ending than what we got...the ending I was expecting would of worked and satisfied me, but the one Sparks delivered gave me a little surprise and also satisfied. So it was a win-win.

A strong 4/5 for me.
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on July 16, 2012
This is one of those books that after the 1st chapter you have hope. by the 3rd chapter you begin to wonder: "Where is this going?". After the 4th chapter you know exactly where it is going and how it is going to get there and the fluff in between is about as sappy and drawn out and redundant as it could possibly get. The ending is as predictable as it could possibly be. You know there is something wrong with a book when the humans get all the ink but the dog is the most exciting character.
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