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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Perfect for fans of Adam Gidwitz's The Inquisitor's Tale, this lyrical middle-grade fantasy follows two children from opposite circumstances as their fates cross and change both their lives forever. Ever since her mother's death, Princess Una has suffered through years of loneliness in the royal palace, where girls are treated as an afterthought. She yearns for a different life but is unsure how to make anyone notice her. Then her father announces a special contest: Whoever finds the rare Silva Flower can present it to Una for her twelfth birthday and receive a reward. Frustrated by her father's grand but empty gesture, Una decides to take her fate into her own hands. Julien, a young pauper, has tried his whole life to make something of nothing, alongside his hardworking Baba. When Baba is arrested by terrifying debt collectors, Julien's only hope to save his father is to win the palace contest--to find the elusive Silva Flower. Little does he know that Una has decided to embark …

The Other Side of Luck

by Ginger Johnson

Overall Book Review:

The Other Side of Luck is a bitter-sweet, middle grade tale told in a lyrical style that would lend itself well to a read-aloud.  The style really was quite lovely and soothing to read.  The publisher’s note compared this book to An Inquisitor’s Tale, but that is not a comparison I would have made.  True, it has intertwining stories, but after that the similarities are not strong.

The books is a quick read with realistic action; a middle grade reader could picture themselves doing the things that Una and Julien do.  There is a wisp of fantastical in that Una and Julien each possess a singular talent that is exactly what the other does not have.  The pacing was good, but not non-stop.  There were some great themes in this book, but sometimes delivered by direct character monologue rather than by gently leading the reader.

With strong male and female protagonists, this is a book that should appeal to both girls and boys.  The Other Side of Luck is a charming addition to middle grade literature.

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  None

Violence/Gore:  Reported death during childbirth; object deliberately thrown at a person and hits them in the head; character is chased; young character roughly handled, kicked, and tied up; character verbally threatened; individuals stung multiple times by insects; character deliberately pushes cart into someone causing them to fall; attempting kidnapping; character flees pursuers.

Sex/Nudity:  None 

Mature Subject Matter:

Death of a parent, kidnapping, economic disparity, illness, poverty/hunger.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!