Beyond Lucky by Sarah Aronson
"Ari Fish believes in two things: his hero-Wayne Timcoe, the greatest soccer goalie to ever come out of Somerset Valley-and luck. So when Ari finds a rare and valuable Wayne Timcoe trading card, he's sure his luck has changed for the better. Especially when he's picked to be the starting goalie on his team. But when the card is stolen-and his best friend and the new girl on the team accuse each other of taking it-suddenly Ari can't save a goal, everyone is fighting, and he doesn't know who, or what, to believe in.
Before the team falls apart, Ari must learn how to make his own luck, and figure out what it truly means to be a hero."- summary from Amazon
I loved Aronson's debut Head Case and was really looking forward to reading her follow-up. This is a complete 180 from her debut and I really enjoyed it. I wasn't quite pulled in from the beginning (perhaps because I'm not much of a sports fan) but as I got further into the story, I got invested in Ari and the other characters. Aronson's first foray into middle-grade fiction is spectacular; she really nails the voice, the emotions, and the situations that happen as kids grow up. Their interactions all felt realistic.
I really liked the presidential quotes at the beginning of each chapter. It was a nice little touch because Ari has a thing for the US presidents and knows a lot about them. He even includes them in his pre-game rituals. I also have to say that I teared up a bit toward the end of the book and that almost never happens.
I honestly don't know what else to say about this book. I think it's fantastic and that pre-teens (especially boys, of course) will really enjoy it. Definitely a book to check out!
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