Synopses & Reviews
It’s the first day of fifth grade, and Ally is psyched. She and her best friend, Betsy, are in the same class, and have already planned on singing in the annual talent show together. But it’s not long before she sees that Betsy has made a new best friend, and Ally is no longer on her radar screen. Not to mention that the weird new kid, Tina, has glommed on to Ally. In this phenomenally accurate and readable portrayal of the trials and tribulations of fifth grade, readers will watch a quirky, sensitive, and extraordinarily likeable girl try to survive. Narrated in Ally’s distinctive first person voice, Thank You, Lucky Stars beautifully illustrates that it is possible to be unpopular, individualistic, nice, and still have fun.
"Adults hoping to share their own enthusiasm for Donofrio (Riding in Cars with Boys) with younger readers may not get what they want from the author's first work for children. The story line is classic: narrator Ally starts fifth grade only to discover that her best (and only) friend, Betsy, has ditched her for the girl they both loved to loathe. Enter the kooky new girl who glues herself to Ally, a low-level class bully to bother them and two other outcasts to befriend them, and then throw in a school talent show (in which, despite the contemporary setting, everyone wants to sing Simon and Garfunkel or Beatles songs, or disco-dance. Unfortunately, Donofrio succeeds too well in building Ally's class-reject personality: her inability to read Betsy's social cues might invite some sympathy, but her manner and style (inserting 'Thank you, Lucky Stars,' as an expression of gratitude, an uncontrollable penchant for a dance move she calls the 'heebie-jeebie') come across as immature, detracting from an otherwise personable narrative and jeopardizing the bond that readers may form with her. New girl Tina's gratingly over-the-top behavior is explained by the gradual, realistically rendered disclosure that her mother is bipolar and off her meds, while Ally turns out to have a sibling who died before Ally's birth, a circumstance that never fully dovetails with Ally's family dynamics. The ending, neat and feel-good, seems wishful and out of sync with the lifelike portrayals that precede it. Ages 9-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Beverly Donofrio is the author of Riding in Cars with Boys, which was made into a film starring Drew Barrymore. She has written essays for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Marie Claire, and was a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered. In addition, she is the author of the picture book Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary. She lives in Mexico.