The Children’s Book Review | January 16, 2018
The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl?
Susan Lubner: Hope, Signs, Family, Friendship, Cats
Can you share a highlight from the book? Or maybe your thoughts on, or an excerpt of, your favorite sentence, paragraph, or page?
There is a scene where Lizzy and Charlotte reveal not only to each other but to themselves their fears and pain. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book because although their circumstances are different there’s a commonality the two share and it comes to light. The small gesture of reaching out to hold the other’s hand represents that bond. I love that moment of solidarity between these two young, scared girls.
If you had to take a vacation with one of the characters from Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl, who would it be? Why?
For sure, Lizzy. I see myself in her a bit given that we both experienced loss at a young age and I, too, during that difficult time looked to the universe for a sign that everything would be OK. In a way, it would be like revisiting my twelve year old self. I would tell Lizzy that no matter what, life has a way of working things out, even the most difficult things.
What has been the best reaction from a reader, so far?
I have to say that I am a HUGE Sheila Turnage fan. I have read all four of her Dale & Mo books and I love her humor and her use of language. I was completely shocked and flattered beyond my wildest dreams when a reviewer from SLJ said “…delightful details create a similar air to recent quirky classics such as Sheila Turnage’s Three Times Lucky.”
What’s on your nightstand? Any books?
Only books (besides my lamp) since there isn’t room for anything else. Lots of middle grade novels including Jonathan Auxier’s Sweep, Jenna Gavigan’s Lulu the Broadway Mouse, Beth Vrabel’s The Reckless Club, and I’m halfway through The Mortification of Fovia Munson by Mary Winn Heider. Also in my stacks: The Underground Railroad, Pachinko, Bird by Bird, and The Best American Short Stories, the one edited by Elizabeth Strout, one of my favorite authors. And there’s more! I really do need a bigger nightstand and more time in each day to get through all these fabulous books.
For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee?
Sugar and coffee but never together. Meaning I only like milk in my coffee, no sweetener. But I wouldn’t say no to a cookie or brownie or a piece of chocolate to go along with it.
Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?
All of the above. I always start with pen and paper (and a pencil and the notepad in my cell phone!). Once I have a bunch of scribbled ideas, then I start working on my computer.
Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl, your writing style, or yourself?
In the fall of 2015, after a year of scribbling ideas and a few disjointed chapters, I committed myself to the NaNoWriMo challenge: National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a first draft or 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. That meant scheduling very strict writing sessions for myself daily, which was something new for me. I completed the 50,000 words by November 30th(YAY!) but the story did not have an ending. The ending would elude me for about a year. I realized (thanks to my agent) that I hadn’t nailed down what it was that my main character really wanted. I had to dig a lot deeper inside Lizzy and then deeper into my own heart, too, revisiting the loss I had experienced at Lizzy’s age. During that difficult time, I had also looked to the universe for a sign that everything would be alright. It was a way to cope and a way to be hopeful. Once I did that, I was able to finish the book. I had a very polished manuscript ready to send off to my agent by the end of January 2017. But I waited until February 14 to submit it to her. I thought it would be a good sign that she and an editor out there would really love it. 😊
Written by Susan Lubner
Publisher’s Synopsis: Told with humor and heart, this is a middle grade story about family, friendship, and hope—plus cats in sweaters!
Living in the small town of East Thumb, Maine, upstairs from her family’s diner, twelve-year-old Lizzy Sherman searches for signs to guide her and perhaps guarantee her a bump-free path through life. She pays attention to the clouds in the sky, the ice cubes in her water, the heart-shaped puddle of the juice her friend spilled. If only she can figure out what the signs are trying to tell her, she’ll know what to do next.
When Lizzy and her best friend go searching for a stray cat and find a runaway girl instead, they want to help. And when Lizzy notices a tiny four-leaf clover tattooed on the girl’s hand, she knows it’s a sign. Lizzy hides the girl inside her bedroom closet, convinced the girl will be able to protect Lizzy’s family from tragedy. But signs can be tricky, and what the girl has to offer may be more valuable that luck.
Ages 8-12 | Publisher: Running Press Kids | November 6, 2018 | ISBN-13: 978-0762465026
About the Author
Susan Lubner is the author of three picture books and the middle grade novel, The Upside of Ordinary. Her stories have also appeared in Spider and Highlights. Besides reading and writing, Susan loves taking long walks, spending time on the water at Cape Cod, the color blue, painting, and eating lots of chocolate. She lives in Massachusetts, but was born and raised in Maine, where her family always had two, three, or sometimes four cats.
This speed interview with Susan Lubner, author of Lizzy and the Good Luck Girl, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Cats, Family, Friendship, Hope, Middle Grade Books, and Speed Interview.