Beyond Lucky

Sarah Aron­son
  • Review
By – September 1, 2011
The pur­suit of luck is the guid­ing force behind this appeal­ing mid­dle-grade sports nov­el about soc­cer and friend­ship. You don’t have to be a crazed soc­cer fan to be cap­ti­vat­ed by the tribu­la­tions of twelve-year-old Ari Fish, start­ing goalie on the Som­er­set Val­ley soc­cer team, and best friend of Jer­ry Mac” Mac­Don­ald, the star play­er. What will bring Ari the most luck and enable his team to win the cham­pi­onships? Ari obses­sive­ly mem­o­rizes Amer­i­can pres­i­dents, finds a rare Wayne Tim­coe trad­ing card, and col­ludes with Mac to pre­vent Park­er, the only girl on the team, from get­ting a chance to play. And who needs luck the most — Ari, or Sam, his fire­fight­er old­er broth­er and role mod­el? Ari lives with a sup­port­ive Jew­ish fam­i­ly, and rep­re­sents the aver­age Amer­i­can sub­ur­ban kid; jug­gling his school life, his team needs, his friend­ships, and his upcom­ing Bar Mitz­vah. Mid­dle grade read­ers will be engaged by Ari’s wry humor as he comes to an even­tu­al real­iza­tion of how fam­i­ly, for­give­ness, trust, and friend­ship are just as impor­tant as win­ning the game. Sarah Aron­son skill­ful­ly cap­tures just the right amount of both tor­ment and ela­tion in the voice of her young pro­tag­o­nist that will appeal to both boys and girls who like con­tem­po­rary and fast-mov­ing nov­els that mir­ror real life. For ages 9 – 12.
Lisa Sil­ver­man is direc­tor of Sinai Tem­ple’s Blu­men­thal Library in Los Ange­les and a for­mer day school librar­i­an. She is the for­mer chil­dren’s book review edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World.

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