Thursday, 3 September 2020

Review on Life of Riley: Beginner's Luck



Ten year old Riley is most definitely CURSED! He knows this because a fortune teller named Madam Olga said “Curse you chiiiiiiild” after he accidentally smashed her crystal ball, and since then terrible things have been happening. Riley manages to lose the schools pet rabbit, lose his swimming trunks and lose his dignity in the space of a week, and the bad luck doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. However new kid Brad might just be the good luck charm he needs. Whenever Riley hangs out with Brad, the bad luck seems to be kept at bay. But how do you get a popular cool kid like Brad to want to hang out with you when the whole school knows you're cursed?

I’M SO HAPPY I GOT TO REVIEW THIS BOOK!! Simon James Green Is one of my all time favourite authors, and I’m practically always gushing over how much I love his Noah books, so of course I was over the moon when I was given the opportunity to review his first middle grade book. I knew this book was going to be hilarious before I even picked it up and I wasn’t wrong!

 The book follows Riley, a ten year old boy who is cursed, or so he thinks. After visiting a pretty dodgy fortune teller who curses him, Riley starts to have extremely bad luck with hilarious consequences, which cause him to start looking for ways to either lift the curse, or find a good luck charm that will help to neutralise the bad luck. Riley was an extremely funny and dramatic character, and reminded me a little of Noah. It was hilarious how he made a big deal out of absolutely everything, and how he got himself into every problem imaginable. I loved how Riley was a little different to most of the kids his age, and was a bit of a loner who preferred musical theatre over playing football. I always adore the characters Simon creates and Riley was no different!

 After going through some extremely unfortunate but extremely funny calamities, Riley meets new kid Brad, who seems like everything Riley isn’t. Brad is immediately popular, loves playing football and seems to be able to solve any problem he runs into. Even though Brad and Riley’s personalities were pretty different from each other, they immediately became friends and found out they had all sorts of things in common including a love for musical theatre. Their friendship was honestly adorable and it kind of made me miss being their age when kids were less judgemental and you didn’t have to have absolutely everything in common to be friends with someone. As Riley’s old best friend moved away, it was heart warming to see him finally have someone to hang out with again. 

 Something that I loved about Brad and Riley’s friendship was they always had each other’s backs, and if something horrible or embarrassing was happening to one of them, the other would get involved too. It’s easy to just step back when someone is having a hard time, but it takes bravery to step in and support them. I loved how Brad did dumb things to help Riley out, and how Riley unknowingly helped Brad by thinking his overprotective parents were cool and their safety precautions were a good idea. I loved how Brad went from thinking his parents were an embarrassment to thinking they weren’t so bad once Riley reacted positively. Brad was such a sweet character who was always there for Riley when something bad was happening to him. I did feel a little sorry for Brad, as he trusted Riley 100% even when the evidence was stacking up against him, and was pretty heartbroken when he found out the truth. However I did love how they were able to fix things by talking to each other and explaining their side of the story.

 I adored Riley’s grandma’s idea of creating our own luck, and how this was visualised by her sticking two three leaf clovers together to create a four leaf clover, which I think really helped to explain what she meant. Riley believes that he’s unlucky and Brad is lucky, but we get a glimpse that Brad’s seemingly perfect life isn’t all it seems, and he’s had his fair share of ups and downs too. I loved how Riley realised he was actually pretty lucky to have Brad as his best friend, and how even though bad things had happened, there were a lot of positive things that had come from the experiences too. It’s so easy for us to always see the bad things that happen in our lives and ignore the good, so I loved how even though Riley had gone through some terrible ordeals, he was able to see all the good things that had happened too.

 This book was both hilarious and heart warming and pretty much just what I needed right now! Despite it being a fun silly book, it also gave some important messages about the importance of friendship and how even though we might be having a terrible day, there will always be better days ahead of us. I would love to see more of Brad and Riley’s adventures in the future and I would recommend this book to kids and adults alike who are looking for a good laugh! 




Life of Riley: Beginner's Luck is now available to purchase!

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