I said I would try a romance in my Book Blogger Meetup post, so here I am. I read Lucky in Love by Kasie West, and to my surprise, I didn’t hate it. Am I growing?
Maddie has been working hard her whole life. She doesn’t believe in luck. But when birthday plans go awry, she buys a lottery ticket on a whim. Before she knows it, she’s a multi-millionaire.
Soon her life becomes unrecognizable. She’s able to solve her family’s money problems and treat her friends to lunch, and her tuition worries are no longer relevant. At first it’s fun, but soon people start to treat her differently. People who have never paid attention to her suddenly want to be in her life, rumours start to spread, and being asked for loans becomes normal.
The only one who doesn’t treat her differently is her zoo coworker Seth Nguyen. He’s charming, and witty, and -thanks to being grounded – he doesn’t know anything about her big win. As their relationship grows, she wrestles with telling him the truth. Will things change if he finds out?
Let’s get into it…
Yes, some the big questions in this novel revolve around Seth and Maddie. Will they get together? Will Maddie tell him about her win, or will he find out some other way? And how will Maddie’s new found financial security effect Seth’s feelings for her? But here’s the thing that surprised me about this story, it’s not all about their relationship. In fact, I think the marketing and description of this book actually do a bit of a disservice to Kasie West‘s story because there’s actually a whole lot more going on beyond the romance.
Lucky in Love is actually a coming of age story focused on a girl who has tried her whole life to be responsible and level-headed. Before winning the lottery, Maddie is willing to sacrifice her own dreams to stay close to her family and make sure they don’t fall apart. Her parents fight a lot, largely due to her father’s unemployment, and her brother is in debt. With so much instability in her home life, Maddie struggles to maintain control. In fact, the desire for control is a key theme in the story. Thanks to her lottery win, Maddie get’s to relax a bit, since she’ll be able to afford college regardless of getting a scholarship. But, she also finds that even with financial power, she can’t control everything. Seeing Maddie come to such realizations is actually kind of heartwarming.
That said, Maddie – despite her growth throughout the novel – can be incredibly annoying. I understand that I’m not a teenager anymore, but I feel like I’ve always been financially responsible. Even with millions, I wouldn’t make some of the mistakes she does. There were literally times when I would groan at the lack of thought Maddie puts into her financial decisions. But I suppose it wouldn’t be a very interesting book if Maddie immediately went to a financial adviser and invested her wealth.
Time to address the actual romance part of the plot. While the romance curmudgeon in me is all “they’re going to university, what’s the point?” I will acknowledge that Seth and Maddie aren’t a bad pair. They share funny banter, and aside from Maddie’s omission of her lottery win, they are fairly good at communicating with one another. They share their worries about their futures and encourage one another. And while there is an aspect of the “can I trust him” concern that seems to prevail in young adult romances these days, it was nice for me to see it play out in a real world setting rather than some dystopian SFF world. Also cool, Seth is Asian-American and gets to be the romantic male lead (which I don’t see very often).
Final thoughts: Lucky in Love is an engaging coming of age story that addresses themes of control, trust, and responsibility, paired with a cute romance.