The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis
Published by Tor Teen on October 1, 2019
Series: The Good Luck Girls #1
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Historical Fiction, Western, Young Adult
Length: 352 pages Source: BookCon 2019
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Book Depository • IndieBound
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls--they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a "welcome house" as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta's most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It's going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookCon 2019 and Tor Teen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I was on board with this book as soon as I found out it was a YA fantasy western. I didn’t even need to know the plot – I knew I was there for the aesthetics alone and the rest would com after.
I gotta tell you guys, the world Charlotte Nicole Davis built here is AWESOME. You get hints of a western feeling world in the post-apocalyptic dystopias like LIFEL1K3 and Gunslinger Girl, but The Good Luck Girls isn’t a dystopia and the world stays constant. I grew up watching old-school westerns with John Wayne and Clint Eastwood and while YES these are largely problematic, the genre has so many unique elements to it… I’m really excited to see it come back into modern fiction in a non-problematic way. Charlotte Nicole Davis has all the elements: ghosts, horses, rattlesnakes, saloons, the equivalent of U.S. Marshalls… but there’s the unique element of subtle magic, the vernacular of the world, and the class systems. She really captured the feel of a traditional western and it is ON POINT.
For whatever reason, I thought The Good Luck Girls was going to follow Clementine, but most the story is told from her sister Aster’s POV. Through the five girls and Zee, we learn about five very different backgrounds. Their stories are spread throughout the book, and it’s written really well. I never felt like there was an information dump. Each girl has a unique story that led her to the welcome house, and a unique skillset she offers the outlaw gang. I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite – Aster’s leadership and drive, second guessing Violet, Tansy’s kindness, or Mallow’s ferocity. I felt like Clem was the least developed, and while Zee was interesting, he wouldn’t take the top spot. Regardless, there are a lot of faces to fall in love with here.
Some plots were predictable, but the details never ended up quite the way I expected. For example, I figured out part of Violet’s story early on, and while I was right on the where, I wasn’t right on the what. This is such a wonderful debut and Charlotte Nicole Davis did such a great job of balance. There were exciting scenes, and there were gentler, more touching scenes. There were a lot of little plot twists and everything really felt like it went the way it had to go. This is a concerning world, and for once, I’m going to say that The Handmaid’s Tale x Westworld elevator pitch makes a lot of sense. But it’s a lot more Westworld. I see Delores in Aster for sure.
I had the opportunity to briefly meet and speak to Charlotte Nicole Davis as Book Con at the Fierce Reads Breakfast (which is where I got this ARC) and it was so cool how casual/excited she was about this novel. Each author only had a heartbeat to talk about their novel, and she simply said it had all the things she loved: westerns, girl gangs, ghosts. I am here for all of it. These are also things I love to see in book. I’ve gotta tell you – I had really high expectations for The Good Luck Girls… and I loved it.
I hope to see The Good Luck Girls making a splash across the community – it’s a strong, original book with an exciting storyline, great themes, great characters, great diversity… it’s good all around y’all. I know I’m going to be shouting about it, so I hope others will jump on board and read it, too! If you want that Old American West aesthetic with a fierce girl gang fighting injustice, you HAVE to read The Good Luck Girls.
The Good Luck Girls stays on my shelf!
To be honest, I’m a little annoyed that this is over? I want more of this world and I want to know what happens to <<SPOILER>> and whether or not <<SPOILER>> live happily ever after and dammit. I guess I’ll have to wait. But The Good Luck Girls has really good re-read value, because the world is really interesting and I’d like to go back in focusing less on soaking it in as a whole, and more on the individual characters, or on the various types of ghosts (please tell me this comes more into play in the sequels) and on the corruption of the government system and everything.
This isn’t a “maybe I’ll read it again” book. This is an “I’ll definitely read it again, and probably more than once” book.
Do you enjoy a western setting? As I mentioned above, I do! But a lot of the older stuff has very bad racial stereotypes and… yeah just general racism and sexism to be honest. I’d like to see the genre get revived, but like this. 🙂