Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: How Lucky You Are

By Melissa Amster

I have been told on many an occasion (usually by the same person) that I'm "lucky." I seem to refute this statement. I'm thankful for what I have, but I don't consider it a matter of luck. I also feel like one should really try living a day in my life before telling me I live in some sort of charmed bubble. That is why the title of Kristyn Kusek Lewis' debut novel, "How Lucky You Are," really stood out for me, and why the content inside made me feel like she really "got" me.

Waverly has been living with her boyfriend for the last ten years without a ring on the horizon and she owns a bakery that is on the brink of financial ruin. She's the glue that keeps her friends together, even when they don't like each other much, leaving her to worry about their problems without much support. Her best friend, Kate, is married to a politician and playing the role of socialite until she receives a rude awakening. Her other best friend, Amy, is a suburban stay-at-home mom, hiding a horrible secret. As life's pressures become a threat to her friendships with both women, Waverly has to make some decisions that may not always lead to a desirable outcome. Can she stay true to herself while trying to balance her life's problems with her friends' even more pressing issues?

I'll admit that I initially was bothered that the story was all from Waverly's point of view. I wanted to know what Kate and Amy were thinking from their own perspectives. However, I came to relate to the lack of control Waverly was feeling about everything happening in her friends' lives and how she couldn't predict whether they'd even want to stay friends with her when push came to shove. Waverly was a great narrator overall and easy to sympathize with. We also got a lot of background from her friends, even without them sharing their side personally. The dialogue was extremely realistic and moved the story along at a nice pace. The use of detail brought their Washington DC area neighborhood to life. Considering that I live somewhat nearby, I enjoyed that the story took place there and that Kristyn was able to capture the feel of the area so well. She also realistically portrayed the women's age, which is close to mine. I felt they were even easier to relate to as a result.

Throughout the novel, there was great use of emotional strength between the characters, even at their weakest moments. I like how Kristyn portrayed the concept of the grass not always being greener. The three friends thought one another had it easier, but end up being surprised at what they didn't know was really going on. There were plenty of honest and heartfelt moments between the women.

Since I love casting books as movies and could definitely see "How Lucky You Are" on the big screen, I want to share my actress choices for the three women. When you read Kristyn's interview, you'll be as surprised as I was as to how different our choices are. However, I think you'll see a bit of both of our choices in each character as you read the story.

Waverly: Piper Perabo
Amy: Amy Adams
Kate: Either Rachel McAdams or Isla Fisher

Kristyn did a fantastic job with her debut novel and I know it will stay with me for years to come. I look forward to reading future novels from her. (And I wouldn't mind trying one of Waverly's doughnut muffins...or at least getting the recipe.)

Thanks to BookSparks PR for the book in exchange for a fair review. They're also giving away a copy to one "lucky" US reader during our interview with Kristyn.

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