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A Big Dose of Lucky
Cover of A Big Dose of Lucky
A Big Dose of Lucky

Malou has just turned sixteen, hardly old enough to be out in the world on her own, and all she knows for sure is that she's of mixed race and that she was left at an orphanage as a newborn. When the orphanage burns to the ground, she finds out that she may have been born in a small town in Ontario's cottage country. Much to her surprise, Parry Sound turns out to have quite a few young brown faces, but Malou can't believe they might be related to her. After she finds work as a cleaner in the local hospital, an Aboriginal boy named Jimmy helps her find answers to her questions about her parents. The answers are as stunning and life-changing as anything Malou could have imagined back at the orphanage.

Malou has just turned sixteen, hardly old enough to be out in the world on her own, and all she knows for sure is that she's of mixed race and that she was left at an orphanage as a newborn. When the orphanage burns to the ground, she finds out that she may have been born in a small town in Ontario's cottage country. Much to her surprise, Parry Sound turns out to have quite a few young brown faces, but Malou can't believe they might be related to her. After she finds work as a cleaner in the local hospital, an Aboriginal boy named Jimmy helps her find answers to her questions about her parents. The answers are as stunning and life-changing as anything Malou could have imagined back at the orphanage.

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About the Author-
  • Marthe Jocelyn is the award-winning author and illustrator of over thirty books for babies, kids and teens, including Hannah's Collections, which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Literary Award for Illustration. In 2009, she was the recipient of the prestigious Vicky Metcalfe Award for her body of work. Originally from Toronto, Marthe now lives in Stratford, Ontario, after living in New York for 30 years. For more information, visit marthejocelyn.com.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 13, 2015
    In a compelling genealogical mystery set in 1964 Ontario—one of seven interlinked novels in the Secrets series, publishing simultaneously—mixed-race 16-year-old Malou Gillis embarks on a quest to illuminate her heritage. Spat out into the harsh world after her orphanage burns down, Malou makes her way to the town of Parry Sound, where an old hospital bracelet is her only link to the family that abandoned her. She accidentally lands a job as a cleaner in the medical center and, with her newfound freedom and income, has other firsts like a date with a Mexican orderly, Frankie, who helps her discover that something larger is at play in her past. Malou is braver than she knows, hitting a dead end almost immediately but using the false start to make her first friend. Through this inspiring heroine and characters that include a gay, biracial couple living as sisters-in-law, Jocelyn illuminates racial and social inequality as significant today as it was during the civil rights movement. Poignant and resonant, it’s an important exploration for readers seeking their own identities. Ages 12–up.

  • AudioFile Magazine Part of the high-interest series Secrets, this audiobook includes support for reluctant readers through narrator Kelly Pruner's clear diction, easy pacing, and decidedly conversational tone. In Canada, 1964, 16-year-old Malou lives in an orphanage. When a fire destroys it, she receives a single clue about her parentage and sets off on her own. The clue brings her to a town with an unusually large number of children of color--a town full of secrets. Mature topics are introduced but handled age-appropriately. Besides delivering the occasional Canadian "eh?", Pruner doesn't attempt to effect Canadian, First Nation, or African-American accents or manners of speech. Listeners will feel Malou could be any contemporary friend. L.T. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine
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A Big Dose of Lucky
Marthe Jocelyn
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