So B. It

by Sarah Weeks (2004)

A Middle School selection. 

Everyone has lucky streaks. Hit every green light when you’re already late? Lucky. Win a raffle at your local grocery store? Lucky. Completely guess at a question on a test only to get it exactly right? Lucky, lucky, lucky. If you had a constant lucky streak, can you imagine how your life would be different?

Heidi is the protagonist of Sarah Weeks’ So B. It.  She’s twelve years old, living in Reno with her disabled mother and neighborly caretaker.  Believe it or not, she lives a life of unusual luck. She’s a wiz at guessing games and slot machines.  She is exactly the type of person you’d want buying your lottery tickets.

But what happens when your luck runs out?  Weeks’ novel explores this very scenario. In a book filled with unexpected twists and turns, Heidi embarks on a solo adventure to upstate New York to discover the truth about her origins. Her luck helps her along the way, but how much can luck help you when you’re confronting the biggest shock of your life?

So B. It explores an unexpected notion of family.  It’s full of love and adventure, and sprinkled with historical pop culture lessons, too. (Heidi is named after the famous children’s book character portrayed by Shirley Temple.)

Heidi’s odyssey is colored by a deep family mystery.  It’s redolent of Robert Cormier’s famous novel, I Am the Cheese.  Middle School readers will enjoy a story that includes the unease of not really knowing how it will all turn out.  Sharing Heidi’s sense of not-knowing will help your students identify and care more about Heidi’s plight.  And the final unveiling of the truth will provoke the kind of rich discussion you want from a One School, One Book for Middle School selection.

Your readers will learn vicariously with Heidi how to be comfortable with the unknown, and then grow to be okay with not being lucky all the time.