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The Luckiest Girl

The Luckiest Girl

4.4 63
by Beverly Cleary

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Falling in Love . . .

Shelly fells as if she's living in a fantasyland. She's spending the school year in southern California, where flowers bloom in November, oranges grow on trees, and lawns are mowed in winter. When the star of the basketball team smiles at her, Shelly feels as if she's been touch by magic. Now she's about to discover the magic of falling


Falling in Love . . .

Shelly fells as if she's living in a fantasyland. She's spending the school year in southern California, where flowers bloom in November, oranges grow on trees, and lawns are mowed in winter. When the star of the basketball team smiles at her, Shelly feels as if she's been touch by magic. Now she's about to discover the magic of falling in love!

A bittersweet story of first love from one of America's most beloved children's authors.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Ought to be required reading for teenage daughters and their mothers.
Children's Literature - Cindy L. Carolan
If only my parents were not so overprotective. If only my boyfriend was not so boring. If only my life was not so predictable. These words are part of the mantra of one Shelley Latham of Oregon. It is her junior year of high school and she is determined to make a few changes. How lucky is Shelley when a friend of her parents invites her to spend the entire school year living with her family in (of all places) sunny California! The year brings all sorts of changes for Shelley, many good, some bad. But overall, it is a year of growth, self discovery, tolerance, and first love. More than just a bit dated, this book will bore some readers with its lack of high tech, fast living, but for those looking for a kinder, gentler read for their preteens and early adolescents, this book would be an appropriate choice. The author has written countless other books for this age group and audience, including the "Ramona" series.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

One Saturday morning early in September Shelley Latham sat at the breakfast table with her mother and father. Her mother was reading the women's page of the morning paper while her father read the editorial section. There were dahlias in the center of the table and linen mats under each plate; the electric coffeepot gleamed in a ray of morning sunlight. It was a peaceful scene, apparently no different from any other Saturday morning breakfast at the Lathams', but this morning there was a difference, invisible but real. This morning Shelley was plotting.

Outside Shelley heard the rasp of a dry leaf scudding along the driveway. The sound meant the season was changing, and she intended to make her life change with it. That was what made the start of a new high-school year exciting-the possibility that this time things could be different. New school clothes, a change of locker partners, a new boy across the aisle in English class, even the autumn air, crisp and shining-all these could make a big difference in a girl's life.

And Shelley had made up her mind that this year, her junior year, there was going to be a difference. For one thing, she was no longer going to go steady with Jack. How she would break off she did not know, but it would be soon, this very day perhaps.

But before she could do anything about Jack, Shelley had another problem to settle and the time to do it was now. She looked at her mother, who was innocently eating a soft-boiled egg, and made up her mind to be firm from the very start.

"Shelley, here's an advertisement for a school dress that would be pretty on you," remarked the unsuspecting Mrs. Latham."A blue wool-and-rabbit hair with a full skirt."

Shelley was not going to lose sight of her goal. Anyway, she did not want a dress like that for school. She preferred sweaters and skirts such as all the other girls wore. "Mother, I am going downtown this afternoon to buy my slicker," Shelley stated. It was always best to be definite about a controversial subject and to introduce it when her father was present. "School starts Tuesday and I might need it," she explained logically, although her reason for wanting the slicker was not logical at all. She did not know why she wanted a slicker. She only knew that owning one was important and somehow might help make her year different.

"Oh, Shelley, you don't really want one of those awful slickers," remarked Mrs. Latham as she used her napkin to wipe up some pollen that had fallen from the dahlias to the gleaming surface of the mahogany table.

Shelley could not help smiling, because this was exactly what she had expected her mother to say. I'll put it on my list, she thought. If she ever had a sixteen-year-old daughter who wanted a slicker, she would not refer to it as "one of those awful slickers."

Shelley's list, now imaginary, had begun when she was twelve, going-on-thirteen. At that time she had printed on the outside of an envelope: "To be read by me if I ever have a twelve-year-old daughter." On a sheet of paper she had written:

"1. I will let her read in bed all she wants without telling her she will ruin her eyes.

"2. I will not tell my friends embarrassing things that happen to her and laugh.

"3. I will not hang crummy old paper chains on the Christmas tree just because she made them when she was a little girl."

A year later Shelley, touched that her mother had treasured the faded paper chains because she had once worked so hard to make them with colored paper and library paste, crossed the third item off the list. A few months ago when she had been going steady with Jack for some time, she had written in its place: "3. I will not show her baby pictures to boys who come to see her." And soon after that Shelley decided the list was childish and tore it up. But the habit persisted, the list becoming imaginary and the items half-forgotten as soon as Shelley noted them.

The conversation about the purchase of the slickerwas postponed by a letter that dropped through the slotin the front door and slid across the polished floor. Shelley picked up the letter and glanced at the return address,613 N. Mirage Avenue, San Sebastian, California -- an ad-dress that never failed to delight her. She always wondered if there was a South Mirage, too, and if both partsof the avenue might not someday disappear because theywere named for something that was not real at all, butonly an illusion of the eye. "It's from your collegeroommate," she said, as she handed the letter to hermother.

Mrs. Latham tore open the envelope and began to read. "Honestly, if that isn't just like Mavis," she remarked after a moment, as she paused to fill her cup from the electric coffeepot.

"What's like Mavis?" asked Shelley, who had always been interested in her mother's former roommate. Mavis, Shelley remembered her mother's telling her, had brought a mounted deer head -- the head of a sixpoint buck -- to school to decorate their small room in the dormitory of the teachers' college.

"Listen to this," said Mrs. Latham, and began to read." 'Why don't you send Shelley down here for the winter? We have an excellent high school in San Sebastian and classes do not start until the day after Admission Day. We have plenty of room and it might be fun for her to spend a winter in California. I know we would enjoy having her and I am sure that another girl in the house would be a good experience for Katie, who has reached a difficult age,' " Mrs. Latham put down the letter. "That's just like Mavis -- always suggesting something impractical on the spur of the moment. As if we could pack Shelley up and send her over a thousand miles away on a few days' notice!"

The Luckiest Girl. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most beloved authors. As a child, she struggled with reading and writing. But by third grade, after spending much time in her public library in Portland, Oregon, she found her skills had greatly improved. Before long, her school librarian was saying that she should write children's books when she grew up.

Instead she became a librarian. When a young boy asked her, "Where are the books about kids like us?" she remembered her teacher's encouragement and was inspired to write the books she'd longed to read but couldn't find when she was younger. She based her funny stories on her own neighborhood experiences and the sort of children she knew. And so, the Klickitat Street gang was born!

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the American Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented to her in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature. Dear Mr. Henshaw won the Newbery Medal, and Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. Her characters, including Beezus and Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ralph, the motorcycle-riding mouse, have delighted children for generations.

Brief Biography

Carmel, California
Date of Birth:
April 12, 1916
Place of Birth:
McMinnville, Oregon
B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

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Luckiest Girl 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 63 reviews.
dolphin_sharks More than 1 year ago
A REVIEW OF THE BOOK THE LUCKIEST GIRL WRITTEN BY BEVERLY CLEARY The Luckiest Girl is a book of love, learing, romance and more. Find out what happens as a girl finds her way out of boy troubles and just life troubles. This book is recommended to teenage girls. Shelly is a shy, funny, smart girl. She moved to visit her mom's friend in California. She finds new friends and faces new problems. Shelly has straight As. She is not the prettiest girl a guy would want to go out with but she has a GREAT personality. A guy named Philip, star of the basket ball team and her biology partner asks her out. But a problem breaks. Her biology grades are falling because she doesn't pay any attention in class because of Philip. But that's not he only thing Philip's grades fall a lot to. But there is a basket ball game coming up Philip needs to play for his team but his grades are to low for him to qualify. Find out what happens when Shelly and Philip's problems get solved. It's the hard way but it's for the better of both of them. I recommend this book to kids over 12 because it has a lot of love and romance in it that has to do with teenage girl problems. But it can relate to many teenage girl problems.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I read it in seventh grade and I fell in love with it. I am a HUGE romantic so it was perfect for me. I loved it because it has a sweetness and a simpleness to it. I recomend it to anyone who likes teenage love stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love romance books and this is the best that i have read so far i am definitely going to buy all of beverly clear's
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book would be rated for everyone 10+. But honestly anyone could fall in love with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Luckiest Girl Is a very good book. The reason I feel it¿s a good book is because I can to relate to it in some ways. I would recommend this book to teenage girls.Teenagers would understand it and relate to it better than younger girls.This book showed me that there is other girls who also get humiliated by there parents. Also that life can offer us great opportunities and if we don¿t go with it something great might come out of it. The Luckiest Girl is about a girl named, Shelley Latham, from Oregon. Her life is so perfect, but this year, she wants to start her jr year in high school different.This year she didn¿t want a pink coat with a velvet button. She wanted a yellow slicker with a hat to match. One day, Shelley¿s mother got a letter from her old roommate form California. In the letter it asked, if she could send Shelley down for the winter. Shelley¿s mother thought Mavis, her friend was nuts, to send her a letter with just a few days notice. Shelley¿s mother ends up changing her mind, and Shelley is able to go to California. Shelley will be staying with Mavis and her family while she is there.The new guy on the basketball team smiles at her and she feel so lucky. All the other girls are so mad. Shelley ends up findings out what it¿s like to fall in love. To find out more you¿ll have to read the book yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its a great book i love it and i would rcommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it i thought it was great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is probably my favorite Beverly Cleary book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hihly recomend it is a freaken good book
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Luckiest Girl is a fantastic addition to Beverly Cleary's many masterpieces! It is a wonderful trip back in time!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it. I could not put it down. My mom kept telling me to go to bed but I could not put the fasinating book down
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although Beverly Cleary is mostly known for younger books, a teenage girl can read this one. I've read this book a couple times, and I'm still not tired of it. It tells the story of a teen girl going to live to CA for the school year. While there,she falls in love. Thw whole time I was reading it, I wanted to be Shelley. Teen girls should read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book can really grow on to you. Iloved all of Cleary's books but this one just koks me off my feet.I would love to be Shelly. She was so calm about Katie. If Icould be Shelly I would LOVE to live her life!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
im a 12 year old girl and this relates so much to how life really is.....a girl named shelley goes to cali and falls deeply in love will goin threw the ups and downs of life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i used to hate cleary books they are so childish, but this was such a good book. The setting so so cool and the way that the author discribes everything. I should be requered to all teenage girls . It tells you what is really impoirtant how someone is not who. i could not put this book down it was so good. this is one of my favorite books of the year.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book was so awesome i loved it iwish that could happen to me there is romance and a great mother-daughter book This is my most favorie book ever!!!!!!! mothers should by this for their daughters i loved it you should read it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was 14 and I loved it. The characters are so vivid that you feel like you are in the story. I think that every young girl should read this book. Now that I am a mother, i got this book for my daughters to read. Mothers buy this book for your daughters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loving this as I read. Everyone that loves this book needs to read Fifteen!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate boys they are soooooooooooooooo mean and discusting like they are gross. Some are nice but MOST are stupid. I am not saying this is a bad book but they are! That is my opinion. When they are ages 2-5 they are adorable!!!!!! Dont get me wrong i love Beverly Cleary but BOYS ARE GROSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:(:(:(:( BARF IN MY MOUTH hahaha
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So.................. i am the luckirst girl. Not the point int his book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome so far