May 23, 2012

Book Review: Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

A few weeks back I started something new on The O.W.L. What to Read Wednesday.  I asked my readers to pick a book for me to read.  They picked Three Times Lucky.  Today I have the review :)

Title: Three Times Lucky
Author: Sheila Turnage
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: May 10, 2011

A hilarious Southern debut with the kind of characters you meet once in a lifetime. 
Rising sixth grader Miss Moses LoBeau lives in the small town of Tupelo Landing, NC, where everyone's business is fair game and no secret is sacred. She washed ashore in a hurricane eleven years ago, and she's been making waves ever since. Although Mo hopes someday to find her "upstream mother," she's found a home with the Colonel--a café owner with a forgotten past of his own--and Miss Lana, the fabulous café hostess. She will protect those she loves with every bit of her strong will and tough attitude. So when a lawman comes to town asking about a murder, Mo and her best friend, Dale Earnhardt Johnson III, set out to uncover the truth in hopes of saving the only family Mo has ever known.

My Review

I love middle grade books.  I've talked about this before.  How they can be sweet and cute but cover tough topics.  How they can have strong characters that we get the joy of watching grow up.  A good middle grade book leaves me loving the characters, happy for them and so very proud of their growth.  This book gave me all three.

Although Mo drove me a little nuts at points (just had an inability to stop talking sometimes!) I did like her.  I could completely feel for her and her need to find out her past.  To not know anything about where you came from and who her you mom was would be hard.  As an adult I know that families come from those around you who care for you, and she seemed to get that too, but yet she still wanted to know.  That need of hers kept a soft spot for her in my heart.  And to see how she learns and grows with this is pure delight.

Now beyond Mo there is a wonderful cast of characters.  I grew up in a small town, so I love books set in a small town.  And within this small town are some great characters.  I loved the Azalea Club women.  The Colonel was very interesting.  I loved how he was gruff but tender at the same time! The characters that come on and out of the cafe so reminded me of when I  waitressed at my local cafe.  I could see so many of the regulars I waited on in the characters in the book.  

Now about the mystery in the book.  This was just fantastic.  So very well done.  I was completely hooked on trying to figure out what was happening and why.  Dale's whole part in the mystery was great!  I giggled a lot at the beginning of it. And in the end I like how this part of the story wrapped up.  Well done!

I actually loved how the story has a whole wrapped up.  I felt completely satisfied at the end.  I walked away from the book feeling like I had met some wonderful people that I knew would live on even after I closed the book.

Final Thought: Mo was a great character to remind us what family is
Best stick-with-you image:  When Mo tries to sneak up and see what the investigators are doing in the water.
Best for readers who: Like a mystery with heart
Best for ages: 9+
For the Guys?  I'd like to say yes.  Ok so Mo is a girl, but honestly she's a tomboy girl that I think the boys could relate to.  Plus her best friend Dale adds to the boy appeal.


  1. So far, this is one of my favorite reads this year! I thought that the author also captured the stereotypical quirkiness of a small Southern town very well; she makes it humorous and sweet, not the kind of ignorant redneck portrayal some authors fall into.

  2. This one is certainly something special. The way Sheila wove the murder mystery with well-developed characters and a story filled with heart and family is to-be-studied for MG writers.

  3. Thanks for this review. I have this book waiting on my shelf but hadn't seen many reviews on it. Going to get started soon1

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I've been curious about this one. Nicely reviewed. It may be a pace too young for me though, I'm not sure. Was it told in first person or third? This was really fun, do expect to do another Wed. event where the readers choose what you read any time soon?