If you won the lottery, how would you spend the money? That’s one of the themes of Just my Luck by Adele Parks.
Thank you very much to HQ and NetGalley for giving me an Advanced Review Copy of Just My Luck in return for an honest review.
About Just My Luck
I rush to the kitchen and grab the ticket off the noticeboard, suddenly terrified that a freak gust of wind has blown it away, or that one of the kids has knocked it off when they pinned up their letters from school. Although this makes no sense because in the entire history of our family life, neither of our two kids has ever pinned up a letter from school; I’m much more likely to find them crumpled up at the bottom of their rucksacks. I stare at the tiny hole made by the drawing pin; the ticket is slightly creased at the corner. How can this scrap of paper be worth 17.8 million pounds? It’s unbelievable. It’s incomprehensible.
Lexi and Jake have been best friends for 15 years with two other couples, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. They spend every Saturday night together, rotating hosting responsibilities. They’ve shared takeaways, hopes and dreams, and moved home to be closer to each other. Their children are close, having grown up together. Every week they play the Lottery together as a syndicate, until one Saturday night there is an argument and everything changes. One week later, their numbers come up, and Lexi and Jake realise that they have won £17.8 million.
How would winning the National Lottery change you and your life? What would you spend the money on? It was really interesting to read about how each of the characters reacts and how they behave after winning. Lexi and Jake receive a lot of requests for help from friends and family, as well as piles of letters from strangers. Lexi is inundated at work with requests for financial help and is forced to leave her much-loved job at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
A lot of the characters in this book aren’t very likeable. I found Jake, Lexi’s husband, especially frustrating. It seems like he was always quite selfish but the lottery win certainly makes this worse. I felt quite sick thinking about all of the money he was wasting — even buying a Ferrari before the money had even gone into their account! He also encourages their children to take the same cavalier attitude towards shopping and encourages them to buy whatever they want online.
Just My Luck starts off with a news story that seems totally unrelated to the rest of the book — about the death of a wife and young child due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Their landlady is found to be responsible for neglect. Tomas, the widow, then goes to Lexi for help and becomes gets emotionally invested. He was the only likeable character throughout the book and I was happy with how his story ends.
However, dislikeable does not mean badly written. All of the characters are unique and well-described, and I could picture them all vividly. The point of view changes between Lexi, Emily and Tomas. Emily is a 15-year-old teenager, with all the emotional turmoil that entails. Her point of view felt like the least realistic — at times it didn’t sound like a teenager talking. But I thought that her conflicted feelings about her friends and her boyfriend did sound like a teen!
The book is filled with shock twists and turns that kept me guessing throughout. I really enjoyed the story and it felt very realistic. I have read interviews with Lottery winners who have said that winning ruined their lives because the money changed things. It has some dark moments, but despite that this was a really fun read and one that kept me invested until the very last chapter (and final twist!).
The blurb for Just My Luck
It’s the stuff dreams are made of – a lottery win so big, it changes everything.
For fifteen years, Lexi and Jake have played the same six numbers with their friends, the Pearsons and the Heathcotes. Over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.
But then, one Saturday night, the unthinkable happens. There’s a rift in the group. Someone doesn’t tell the truth. And soon after, six numbers come up which change everything forever.
Lexi and Jake have a ticket worth £18 million. And their friends are determined to claim a share of it.
I’ve always dreamed of being a writer and when my first novel — Playing Away — was published the Evening Standard identified me as one of London’s ‘Twenty Faces to Watch’, which was very nice of them!
I like to keep busy and I’ve published 19 novels, and I’m thrilled to say that they’ve all hit the bestseller lists. I’ve sold over 3.5 million books in the UK alone and I’ve been translated into 26 different languages. I have written 17 contemporary novels and 2 historical ones, Spare Brides and If You Go Away, which are set during and after WW1. My latest novels, Lies Lies Lies, I Invited Her In, The Image of You and The Stranger in My Home are twisty, domestic noirs. I like to scrutinize our concepts of family, our theories on love, parenting and fidelity.
I passionately believe that reading is a basic right. I’m a proud Ambassador of The National Literacy Trust and The Reading Agency, charities that are devoted to encouraging emerging adult readers and children who are becoming passionate about books.
During my career I’ve lived in Italy, Botswana and London. Now I live happily in Surrey with my husband, teenage son and cat.
If you want to stay in touch you can find me on Twitter @AdeleParks, Instagram @Adele_Parks or Facebook. You can sign up to my newsletter and there’s lots more info about me and my books on www.adeleparks.com.