If You’re Lucky reminded me of a YA version of The Talented Mr. Ripley (look it up, youngin’) but with the added confusion of an unreliable narrator. I love an unreliable narrator. This is a fast and compelling read that will have you questioning everything.
Is Georgia’s mind playing tricks on her, or is the entire town walking into the arms of a killer who has everyone but her fooled?
When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life?
Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying.
As the chilling narrative unfolds, the reader must decide whether Georgia’s descent into madness is causing her to see things that don’t exist–or to see a deadly truth that no one else can.
“A remarkable page-turner . . . Keep[s] readers wondering, twist by twist, if Georgia’s universe will simply burst apart.” —Andrew Smith, author of Grasshopper Jungle
Readers will be compelled to get to the bottom of this twisty little mystery/thriller, and I don’t think they will be disappointed by the conclusion. While Georgia is a schizophrenic, and she admits that her ability to make connections has been a lifelong problem, I found myself warming up to her rather quickly. She was honest and insightful about her feelings, which made it difficult to watch her spin out of control. I wanted her visions of her brother to be real as much as she did. The story is paced nicely to move the story forward and develop characters. I liked the way that the book addressed the stigma of mental illness and the way it drew a clear picture of the battle that mental illness can be. I think that is an important topic and I’m always glad when a writer is able to present these kinds of messages in a way that almost anyone can understand. I read it straight through in a couple of hours, so it certainly drew me in and held my attention. I think fans of YA contemporary mysteries should seek this book out. Language and situations are most appropriate for grades 9+, but adult readers of YA will also enjoy the complex conflicts and twisty plot just as much.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.