Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel, 2016
Children’s novel for grades 3-8: fantasy, animal stories
In the town of Fortune Falls, stepping on a crack really does break your mother’s back, breaking a mirror really does bring seven years of bad luck, and Friday the thirteenth really is an unlucky day. Sadie Bleeker would know. Although she hasn’t taken the luck test yet, it’s obvious to everyone: Sadie is an Unlucky. Even her best friend Cooper isn’t supposed to spend time with her. In Fortune Falls, Unluckies in seventh grade and up are shipped off to a boarding school, where their presence won’t endanger the Luckies. Since Sadie is turning twelve on Friday and taking the dreaded luck test on Monday, it’s essential that her luck turns around now. But then, she accidentally breaks a mirror, bringing a seven-year-curse down on her head. What’s worse, she loses her beloved dog Wink. In a predictable yet satisfying ending, Sadie meets a black cat that turns out to be good luck. Sadie finds her dog as well as a lucky rabbit’s foot, passes her luck test, and wins the district spelling bee.
Despite weighty subjects, (Sadie’s father recently died) this fantasy story maintains a light, fun, and sometimes humorous tone. The basic premise of a town where superstitions are true is perhaps the most memorable thing about the book, but the family and friend relationships also make both the main characters and the book likable. As a bonus, dog-lovers and cat-lovers alike will have an animal character to enjoy. Not only would I recommend this book for readers who like lightweight fantasy, but I think that some readers who generally prefer realistic fiction will relate to Sadie and her situation enough to enjoy her story.
Additional information for teachers and parents:
Lexile Score: 850L
Other leveled reading information is not currently available, but you can consult this chart https://www.readinga-z.com/updates/raz_correlation_chart.pdf for estimates. Look in the area of Level U and please keep in mind that these numbers and levels are all estimates and do not necessarily take maturity of content into consideration.