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How Lucky by Will Leitch
Contemporary fiction

How Lucky

by Will Leitch

Quick take

Being the sole witness to a crime proves complicated in this funny, heartwarming story of a hero hiding in plain sight.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LOL

    LOL

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SuburbanDrama

    Suburban drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Underdog

    Underdog

Why I love it

Kevin Wilson
Author, Nothing to See Here

I love novels where the voice immediately disarms me, as if we already know each other—characters who at first aren’t even sure what’s so special about their story, but from those first lines, you know that you need to hear it. In How Lucky, Daniel has that same magic. It’s in the way he tells you, “My life is not a thriller,” and then, in a voice tinged with both pain and hopefulness, he lays out something that sure sounds like a thriller, but maybe not in the way we’ve heard it before.

Daniel considers himself to have a pretty great life: good friends, a steady job, a love of college football. He also has spinal muscular atrophy, which means he must use a wheelchair, cannot move his extremities, and speaks mostly through a voice generator box. He’s incredibly observant of the world around him, and this crystallizes in the moment he sees a young woman get into a car and disappear—making him the sole eye-witness to a potential crime he might just be the only person who can solve.

To echo Daniel, this book is not a thriller. But it is a propulsive story about one unforgettable protagonist I would have followed through any plot line. In a story that knows how bad this world can be, How Lucky offers a hard-earned hopefulness. It refuses to be easy, to give in, as if Leitch and his narrator are doing all that they can to tell us that there are reasons to live in this world, to hold on, to search for something meaningful.

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Synopsis

Daniel leads a rich life in the university town of Athens, Georgia. He’s got a couple close friends, a steady paycheck working for a regional airline, and of course, for a few glorious days each Fall, college football tailgates. He considers himself to be a mostly lucky guy—despite the fact that he’s suffered from a debilitating disease since he was a small child, one that has left him unable to speak or to move without a wheelchair.

Largely confined to his home, Daniel spends the hours he’s not online communicating with irate air travelers observing his neighborhood from his front porch. One young woman passes by so frequently that spotting her out the window has almost become part of his daily routine. Until the day he’s almost sure he sees her being kidnapped.

How Lucky is the unforgettable story of a fiercely resilient young man grappling with a physical disability, and his efforts to solve a mystery unfolding right outside his door.

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Preview

Member thoughts

All (11941)
All (11941)
Love (4432)
Like (6412)
Dislike (1097)
12050 ratings
  • 37% Love
  • 53% Like
  • 9% Dislike
  • Barre, VT

    I got How Lucky from BOTM on a whim, and I’m so happy with the choice!This book was unlike any other book I’ve read...possibly ever!I loved the light-hearted humor, genuine depiction of life with SMA.

  • Waterville, ME

    I thought this book was written with such a strong voice. I really felt like I was in the mind of Daniel constantly, and I loved seeing his point of view on life. The ‘whodunnit’ aspect was well done.

  • Gray, GA

    Daniel is everything you want to read in a character. This book had me chuckling while on the edge of my seat the entire ride. Being a Georgia girl, the Athens setting has my heart. ❤️ LOVED this!!!!!

  • Manistee, MI

    Wow! When starting the book, I didn’t think it was one I was going to enjoy it. I had a difficult time reading the last few chapters, I felt so connected to Daniel, I couldn’t stand him getting hurt!

  • Leaburg, OR

    I instantly loved this book! I enjoyed how the author wrote as if he was speaking directly to me - it grabbed my attention and I didn’t want to put it down. I learned a lot, too!! Excellent read! ❤️

  • Gettysburg, PA

    Beautifully written and moving, while also providing an intriguing mystery! This cast of lovable characters, led by fiction’s new favorite hero, will have you reading furiously to the very last line.

  • Houston, TX

    A totally unique narrator and story. I loved getting to see the world through the main character’s eyes. This book humanized having a disability while telling a captivating story and was never preachy

  • Murfreesboro, TN

    I adored this book!! It was just enough mystery, humor, and humanity to give me a boost. Character development is a BIG thing for me, and you can’t help but fall in love with 95% of the characters.!

  • Pasadena, TX

    Wow! This was an amazing book, enjoyed so much Daniel’s thoughts and internal monologues about the situations he got into. Listened the audiobook while I was reading it and the experience was so cool.

  • Baltimore, MD

    Sarcastic, modern and a great beach read … for those of us who think romance beach reads are a bore. I loved Daniel and his friends who are like family. What a joy to read. Thrilling and empathetic.

  • Dover, NH

    This was such a mixed bag of a book (in a good way): funny yet poignant, suspenseful yet reflective. I loved Daniel’s voice and despite some heartbreaking moments, this book left me feeling hopeful.

  • Chicago, IL

    "The world is a better place because I was in it. I can do so much. I love and have people who love me." What a unique and wonderful book! I learned so much. Thoroughly enjoyed. How Lucky indeed!

  • Sacramento , CA

    This story was fast paced and thrilling. I loved having a main character with a different perspective of life. It is important to remember that people are more than their abilities. A very good read.

  • Byron, GA

    What a great narrator! You will love him and his struggles. I appreciated the Athens, GA setting, the mystery, and the insights into living with a chronic fatal disease. Not enough books like this.

  • Brooklyn , NY

    Wow! I mean really, wow. This book was hilarious, moving, inspiring, (insert about a billion more positive adjectives here). I don’t even know where to begin with recommending this one. Pick it up!

  • Antioch, IL

    Such a lovable narrator and so interesting and different than other books. I loved being in the mind of Daniel and the mystery kept me guessing the whole time but was not your typical thriller. Loved!

  • Boston, MA

    I can’t think of one reason to not love this. Representation in the form of our main character - HONEST, real, humorous, & powerful - is what make this book so magical. Truly unique & page-turning.

  • Saint Michael, MN

    It was unlike anything I've read. Day in the life of likable Daniel, living and working with a genetic disease (SMA), yet that's NOT the story. Page turner, quick read & great supporting characters.

  • Colorado Springs, CO

    My love for the second half of the booked definitely overrode my "like" rating. Laugh out loud, with rich characters, and writing with surprising depth, I couldn't help but love this story. So unique!

  • edmond, OK

    the kind, witty, wise, unforgettable daniel is now one of my favorite fictional characters + warm, suspenseful, funny, hopeful, deep & deeply moving (by the end i was crying my face off)—i LOVED it!

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