Rating: 4.75/5 stars
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.
Release Date: 20th October 2015 – pre-order from Amazon here.
Everyone was grinning at the camera. Except Fin. Fin was grinning at Lucky.
If You’re Lucky follows Georgia, whose brother – Lucky – has just passed away in a freak drowning accident. Accident is what we’re told. All of Lucky’s friends, friends he has made from all over the globe, visit False Bay, the family’s home town, for a memorial get together, before returning to their own lives. Except Fin. Fin – a friend Lucky met in Australia – stays behind in False Bay to Georgia’s confusion. Suddenly, Fin is dating Lucky’s widowed girlfriend, working Lucky’s job at his father’s oyster farm, getting along with Lucky’s mother, walking Lucky’s dog, and is as loved by the town of False Bay just as Lucky was. But no one seems to notice how wrong this is aside from Georgia who is – did I fail to mention? – schizophrenic. As the story progresses, Fin becomes more of a threat, all the while Georgia is taking less and less of her prescribed medicine, and her mental health is deteriorating by the day. Events like Georgia seeing the dead Lucky by the ocean (schizophrenic episode) are juxtaposed by strange actions from Fin, and we’re left with equal evidence dictating that everything is real, whilst everything is not real at the same time. We, as the reader, are left to decipher whether Fin truly is trying to replace Lucky, or whether the menace he brings is a figment of Georgia’s schizophrenic mind.
Honestly, I really, thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It kept me on the edge of my book-ish seat, as it were, for the entirety of the novel, for the plot line was so thrilling, so unique, and so utterly perplexing, that each chapter proposed only new questions. That is why, though, I didn’t award this book 5 stars – I have so many unanswered questions!
Firstly, what I really like about this book is the title. If You’re Lucky is a common phrase used almost as a threat in some circumstances (“I’ll see you there.” “Yeah, if you’re lucky.”) yet here it is used to question whether Fin is actually posing as Lucky – Georgia’s dead brother – which I think is really clever. It could also be that Fin thinks he’ll only get away with it (‘it’ being a spoiler) if he’s lucky, and so poses as Lucky to compensate. This is all very confusing.
Next, despite always being taught to never judge a book by its cover, I usually do, and I really like this cover. I like that we’re looking through sunglasses, because it’s like a hint towards how looking through Georgia’s schizophrenic mind into the story is like looking through tinted sunglasses – not everything is told in full certainty or truth. Furthermore, we can see some blurring around the girl in the picture, connoting that everything is not as it seems.
Furthermore, I really enjoyed Georgia as the speaker. It was really challenging to read through a tainted perspective, but thoroughly entertaining as well. Prinz made it so that all events had the equal possibility of being real or not real, and Georgia believed some of the most preposterous events to be real so strongly, I felt myself starting to believe them, too. Also, the character development of Georgia was so built, it was almost as if you could see her mind deteriorating by the chapter. There’s then the fact that the character development of Georgia relies on her character breaking down, not building up, which is something rarely seen in young adult literature.
Additionally, the character of Fin was very complex, and thus very interesting to read about. With every chapter, it seemed, something else about Fin was revealed, whether it was a look into his past, or proof that he lied about something to Georgia. Originally, we want to believe he’s a good person, he’s such a likeable character, but then Georgia’s descriptions of him, or the things he says/does make us feel increasingly wary of him. Some of the things are so simple, so unmoving and uncomplicated, yet the clipped sentences used in his scenes cause him to appear jolted, and unnatural, and therefore, suspicious. Yet we don’t know whether Fin truly is acting creepy, or whether Georgia is simply perceiving him as creepy. I personally wanted to trust Fin, at first, due to the fact that the entire village was besotted with him – that must have been for good reason, right? But some of the things he did were not quite centred, not quite ordinary, that he made me so curious.
The writing isn’t particularly outstanding in this novel, but the writing isn’t what made me stay – the storyline did. However, and unfortunately, the ending wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. The final chapter, for example, I feel was incorporated to give a happy ending to the book, but I feel it would’ve been more interesting and fitting if the book didn’t end in this way. I was left with so many questions about the events leading up to the end of the book that I am still not content with it – I feel as though we’ve been left with a lot of loose ends.
Overall, though, this novel was very enjoyable and piqued my curiosity immensely, which is why I awarded it 4.75/5 stars – it wasn’t perfect, but damn was it close!
(Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to send a big thank you to NetGalley for this book, and also to everyone at Algonquin Books, as well as Yvonne Prinz herself.)