Title: Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
Lucky Girl is an unflinching exploration of beauty, self-worth, and sexual assault, from the author of the acclaimed Tease.
Rosie is a beautiful girl—and it’s always been enough. Boys crush on her, men stare at her, girls (begrudgingly) admire her. She’s lucky and she knows it.
But it’s the start of a new school year and she begins to realize that she wants to be more. Namely, she’s determined to be better to her best friend, Maddie, who’s just back from a summer program abroad having totally blossomed into her own looks. Rosie isn’t thrilled when Maddie connects with a football player who Rosie was hooking up with—but if it makes her friend happy, she’s prepared to get over it. Plus, someone even more interesting has moved to town: Alex, who became semifamous after he stopped a classmate from carrying out a shooting rampage at his old high school. Rosie is drawn to Alex in a way she’s never experienced before—and she is surprised to discover that, unlike every other guy, he seems to see more to her than her beauty.
Then at a party one night, in the midst of a devastating storm, something happens that tears apart Rosie’s life and sets her on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to face uncomfortable truths about reputation, identity, and what it means to be a true friend.
Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel is a thought-provoking young adult novel about sexual assault.
Rosie Fuller is a beautiful teenager who revels in the attention she gets from the opposite sex. While she is popular with the boys at her school, she is not exactly teeming with female friends. After spending the summer apart from her best friend, Maddie Costello, she is shocked to discover that Maddie has transformed from a slightly nerdy awkward duckling into a beautiful swan. Rosie is determined to be a better friend to Maddie so after learning of Maddie’s crush on popular football player (and Rosie’s summer fling) Cory Callahan, she breaks things off with Cory. Despite her lingering jealousy, Rosie is supportive of her friend’s new romance with Cory. However, one night at a party, Cory attacks Rosie and instead of coming to her friend’s defense, Maddie blames Rosie for coming on to her boyfriend. In the aftermath, Rosie is ashamed and blames herself for Cory’s actions but will her new friendship with transfer student Alex Goode help her see that what happened is not her fault?
Rosie is beautiful and she knows it. She uses her looks to validate her self-worth and she seeks out attention from boys every chance she gets. She is a party girl who sees nothing wrong with flitting from boy to boy but her relationships are as superficial as she is. While her friendship with Maddie means the world to her, Rosie is extremely jealous of her friend’s transformation and she is ill prepared for the change in the dynamic of the friendship once Maddie gains some much needed self-confidence.
Initially, Rosie is so incredibly self-centered and selfish that she is difficult to like but after the incident with Cory, she finally begins to tone down her need for male attention. She is also much more reflective as tries to understand her conflicted emotions about what happened to her. Like many girls and women, Rosie is certain that she is to blame for the attack because she dresses to noticed and loves to flirt. She goes over the events from that night again and again and while at first she is convinced she flirted too much, she gradually begins to understand that the only person who is responsible for what happened to her is Cory. This is just the beginning of Rosie’s transformation from self-absorbed party girl to a young woman who begins to realize that outward appearances are not the measure of a person. Repairing her friendship with Maddie is another important facet of her newfound maturity. Will Rosie take the next step in healing from her ordeal and report Cory for assaulting her?
Lucky Girl is a poignant and powerful novel that challenges the pervasive “blame the victim” attitude following a sexual assault. The long standing “she asked for it” mindset is still firmly in place and women are conditioned to automatically take the blame when they are sexually assaulted. The resulting shame and guilt in the aftermath of an unwanted sexual advance or assault are HUGE factors in a victim’s unwillingness to report an attacker. Amanda Maciel’s portrayal of Rosie after Cory’s attempted assault is an all too accurate depiction of what a victim feels and thinks in the aftermath of such a shocking and painful event. In Rosie’s case, her confusion is much worse considering her previous relationship with Cory and her own behavior. The subject matter is difficult to read, but this topic is so incredibly important that I highly recommend Lucky Girl to readers of all ages.