Sunglasses are propped on a surface. Out of focus in the background is the ocean.

Book Review: Lucky

My mom group started a book club this month and Lucky by Marissa Stapley is the first one on the docket. With Marissa being from Toronto, this book has been on my radar since before it was even an official ARC, and then when it became a Reese’s Book Club pick, I knew I would eventually get to reading it, and my new book club was the perfect excuse. Heists and cons are not usually a subject I’m drawn to (the reboot of the Oceans’ movies would be it, really), but with a woman at the forefront here, I was ready to go on an adventure.

What if you had the winning ticket that would change your life forever, but you couldn’t cash it in?

Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity–when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.

When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means she’ll be arrested for her crimes. She’ll go to prison, with no chance to redeem her fortune.

As Lucky tries to avoid capture and make a future for herself, she must confront her past by reconciling with her father; finding her mother, who abandoned her when she was just a baby; and coming to terms with the man she thought she loved–whose dark past is catching up with her, too.

This is a novel about truth, personal redemption, and the complexity of being good. It introduces a singularly gifted, multilayered character who must learn what it means to be independent and honest … before her luck runs out.

My musings
Luciana “Lucky” Armstrong has only ever known the life of a grifter. In alternating timelines between herself as a kid doing cons with her father and as an adult trying to survive after her partner takes everything from her, we see how she doesn’t know how to live any other way but on the run and we understand why her life is so chaotic and why she doesn’t know how to take control of it. She’s surprisingly a little naive, which doesn’t totally add up, and makes the plot even harder to believe.

Stapley does a pretty good job of giving the reader background on all of the players in the story exactly when we need to know about them, and though not a single one of them is a good person (as is to be expected), you understand how their world works and how all the pieces fit together. Everyone, that is, except for the nun that finds Lucky on the church’s doorstep and gives her to John Armstrong when he claims she is his. We get hints that she might have had a shady past (she has buckets of money for some reason), but there’s never any detail given, so it kind of sets up the end of the book to be confusing. It’s all just kind of convenient, and I wish we had more detail. The book was short, so it could have benefitted from a little more character development there.

Speaking of the ending, it happened so quickly that I’m not even sure everything was properly resolved in the end. Lucky’s story was more or less wrapped up with a nice bow in a couple of chapters and then that’s the end, we don’t learn anything else. I would have loved to see how Lucky went on to live the kind of life she wanted to—even just a glimpse would have been nice.

All that being said, if you suspended disbelief and just went on the ride, you got to experience the hectic and crazy life of someone on the run—from how stressful it is and how much you have to constantly use all of your senses to survive. It was an exciting adventure nonetheless and I’m interested to see what the rest of my book club will think!


Yellow and red tinted image of a woman with sunglasses staring straight at us. In the reflection of the sunglasses we see the Las Vegas skyline.

“People deserve second chances. And third chances. All people do is make mistakes. If we never forgave, we’d all be alone.”—Marissa StapleyLucky

Thank you to Sebastian Coman Travel on Unsplash for the featured photo.

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