By Author / Illustrator
Paperback / softback
Introducing The Valentines - Happy Girl Lucky, the first book in the hilarious new romantic-comedy series by Holly Smale, author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed Geek Girl books.
Fame - it runs in the family!
The Valentine sisters - Hope, Faith and Mercy - have everything: fame, success, money and beauty. But what Hope wants most of all is love, and it doesn't matter how far she has to go to find it.
Except real life isn't like the movies. Unless of course you're a Valentine . . .
Happy Girl Lucky is the first book in the Valentines trilogy, and what a great read it is. Hope is 15 and the youngest daughter of a very famous film star mom and film director dad. Her life, however, is not as you would expect... She is not allowed to go to any celebrity functions, 'she's far to young' and so has her school lessons by herself at home, left on her own to do her 'own thing' during the day.
This kind of life has its consequences. Hope leads her life through a camera lens, edits and rewinds in her head all the negative things that happen and has a host of imaginary friends. Even though you come to feel sorry for her, at times she is a little selfish and a bit annoying, but is this because she is leading a very limited and sheltered life? Hope wants to feel special, feel loved and goes to considerable often hilarious lengths to find it, using astrology charts to help guide her along the way. On a train journey home one night she meets Jamie, could he be her new leading man, her romantic interest? Hope sets out on a journey to get her parents back together, and surprise Jamie all at the same time.
I enjoyed this book which is easily suitable for 12+ readers of any range as it is a quick, funny but thoughtful read. I don't want to add any spoilers but just wanted to mention that there are some unexpected developments within Hope's adventure that I did not see coming, which added the depth to the story.
I'm looking forward to catching up with this entertaining family once again in book two. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
471 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+
I've never read any Holly Smale's books before but I have thoroughly been enjoying this book so I will be looking out for it now. I love the layout of the book, I found that incredibly engaging and really appreciate the changes in font, style etc. The description is great, I really felt that this aided the story, Holly paints a picture so effortlessly. The book is a mixture of humour and seriousness, both played to their strengths. I love when the character's get sassy - I was hit by sassy a lot reading this book which I loved. I think my favourite character is Faith; she's quirky in the way that she does stuff, she wears lots of brightly coloured clothes - like she's been transported from the 80's and she's compassionate - always puts everyone before her which I can relate to. Really enjoyable book, it is mammoth though so be warned - this is not a light read. There is a lot more going on in this book than the cover suggests, I actually love Holly Smale now.
Suggested Reading Age 11+
You might be forgiven for thinking that Hope Valentine is a girl who has it all. She and her three siblings are the latest generation in the Valentine dynasty of Hollywood A-listers who live a privileged life in their palatial home, and when the Valentine sisters squabble over clothes, it is usually Gucci, Chanel or Stella McCartney! Yet for some time now Hope's mother has been in rehab and her father is busy directing a film across the pond in Hollywood. The intense press interest into the Valentine clan has led to the siblings being educated at home and so the only friends Hope has for company are those she conjures up with her own imagination. The cover of my proof copy bears the slogan 'Fall in love with the Valentines' and I have to say that it is hard not to fall under the spell of the irrepressibly optimistic, absurdly romantic (and aptly named) Hope. She is so steeped in the conventions of the romantic comedies in which her parents starred that she views every potential romantic encounter as a movie scene to be honed and perfected. At these moments her thoughts are presented to the reader in screenplay dialogue, which I loved. In her attempts to forge a new relationship and with her family crumbling around her, poor Hope clings ever more tightly to her desire for a happy ending, taking her far from home on a romantic mission to set everything right. As fans of the wonderful Geek Girl series would expect, there are laughs aplenty. (Look out for the episode when Hope takes a Hollywood celebrity bus tour. This had me hooting with laughter on a packed commuter train!) What might at first glance seem a slightly frothy (yet utterly enjoyable) story evolves significantly as the plot develops and there are messages of empowerment, acceptance, courage, honesty and sibling love in addition to romance within these pages. I can't wait to recommend this to my readers and I just know that this brightly-coloured package of sheer joy (a little like Hope herself) will be flying off the shelves. Highly recommended! 471 pages / Ages 11+ / Reviewed by Emily Marcuccilli, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+