Dumb Luck

Dumb Luck

by Lesley Choyce
     
 

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As he approaches his 18th birthday, Brandon DeWolf knows he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He failed a grade in a undistinguished school career, and is contemplating spending two more years in school when most of his friends will be graduating at the end of the academic year. He tends to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, has no real ambitions, and

Overview

As he approaches his 18th birthday, Brandon DeWolf knows he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He failed a grade in a undistinguished school career, and is contemplating spending two more years in school when most of his friends will be graduating at the end of the academic year. He tends to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, has no real ambitions, and seems to be at a dead end. Among the few happy moments of his life are the ones he spends with his good friend Kayla, a girl he's known from childhood, another misfit.

Two days before his birthday, however, everything changes for Brandon. First of all he falls out of a tree - and survives intact. On his birthday, savouring his lucky break, he picks up a lottery ticket, and discovers he's won three million dollars. Suddenly everyone's his good friend, and his parents - a discontented frequently squabbling pair - rejoice in anticipating all that this sudden bonanza will buy them. The school's hottest girl becomes Brandon's coach in this new unaccustomed life he has to adapt to. His old friend Kayla realizes their friendship is withering, and Brandon doesn't have the capacity to do much about that. Plunged into a world that is completely new to him - and without any real moral compass to follow - Brandon flounders and eventually is brought down in disgrace, spending a night in jail after being caught drinking and driving. There is no happy ending for Brandon, just a solemn understanding that he cannot recover his old life and needs to find the integrity to map out a new one.

This is the latest in the series of provocative and thoughtful young adult novels by Lesley Choyce. Lesley enjoys portraying teenagers at those uncomfortable and challenging moments as they approach the cusp of adulthood with all its dangers and possibilities.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Living Outside the Lines
“[Lesley] Choyce has written a beautiful story that will draw readers in to its possibilities.”—School Library Journal
  Praise for THE BOOK OF MICHAEL
“…a compelling read with a well-rounded cast of characters.”-School Library Journal

VOYA - Cindy Faughnan
Eighteen-year-old high school junior Brandon buys his first lottery ticket—and wins three million dollars. He is suddenly popular with people who have never spoken to him. Kayla, who has been his friend forever, and the assistant principal warn him that these new "friends" may not be sincere, but Brandon wants to believe in them. He buys his dad a car dealership and his parents a new house; he buys his childhood home for himself. A party in his apartment gets out of hand and Brandon drives drunk, is arrested, and spends a night in jail. By the end of the book, he has destroyed his relationship with Kayla and dropped out of school. He is waiting for inspiration to strike and give him some indication of what he should do with his life. Brandon is portrayed as not-too-smart, not athletic, and with no great aspirations or interests. Because of his lack of anything special, he comes across as rather dumb and it becomes difficult to identify or empathize with him. He appears to have only one friend, and as soon as he wins the money, he dumps her in order to hang out with the "hot" girls. The assistant principal's advice feels like a warning to anyone who wins money. Brandon researches other winners to find what has happened to them (they are all poor again), but he does not believe that he will make such bad choices. The lack of resolution at the end leaves the reader wondering if there is any hope for Brandon. Reviewer: Cindy Faughnan
VOYA - Jenna Yee
Dumb Luck is told in first-person from Brandon's point of view. The book seems to be told in a rush and lacks detail. The topic is hard to relate to as the possibility of actually winning the lottery is known to be slim. No character relationships are presented in enough detail to relate to or to care about. The relationships that are mentioned end in a depressing manner. The book ends abruptly with no cliff hanger or resolution. Reviewer: Jenna Yee, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Brandon is almost 18, aimless, an average student, and a loner. But after a fall from a tall tree doesn't kill him—a feat that his doctor describes as amazing good fortune—he decides to test his luck and buy a lottery ticket…and wins! Three million dollars later, the teen is mostly enjoying the attention from his classmates and the power he feels over his parents. Even beautiful strangers are reaching out to him. Predictably, though, Brandon's lack of direction and newfound wealth results in a series of bad decisions, including investing in people who are using him. What follows is Brandon's journey through the early mistakes of instant wealth as he begins to realize who he is, what people are capable of, and who really cares about him. What is interesting about this story is that even at the end, Brandon's journey is just beginning, and he remains incapable of seeing himself as anything other than the same directionless young man he was before, lost and alone, only wealthier. Choyce clearly appreciates the complexities of growing up by refusing to wrap up the story in a neat little bow. Instead, the author offers some reflections on the hard decisions we all have to make in order to live a fulfilled life. What those choices should be for Brandon is left up to readers to decide.—Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780889954656
Publisher:
Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
Publication date:
10/15/2011
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
232
Sales rank:
1,228,100
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Lesley Choyce once said that a voice in his head told him: ?Write about what makes you feel the most uncomfortable.? The award-winning author of 65 books for children, teens, and adults and a surfer, musician, publisher, broadcaster, Lesley Choyce is always a fresh voice, challenging his readers to explore new paths, try out different attitudes. Lesley surfs year-round in the North Atlantic, teaches at Dalhousie University and lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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