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Lucky
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US$ 5.99

It's all good . . . and lucky Phoebe Avery plans to celebrate by throwing an end-of-the-year bash with her four closest friends. Everything will be perfect—from the guest list to the fashion photographer to the engraved invitations. The only thing left to do is find the perfect dress . . . until Phoebe goes from having it all to hiding all she's lost.

Phoebe's older sisters warn her to keep the family's crisis totally secret. Unfortunately, her alpha-girl best friend looks increasingly suspicious, and Phoebe's crush starts sending seriously mixed signals. Phoebe tries hard to keep smiling, but when her mother is humiliated in Neiman Marcus while buying Phoebe that perfect dress and her father decides to cancel her party, she panics. How far will she go to keep up her image as a lucky girl?

With lucky, Rachel Vail begins a powerful sisterhood trilogy, comprised of one book for each of the three fascinating Avery sisters, with all their secrets laid bare during the year that completely changes their lives. Phoebe is the youngest; her story combines first love and flip-flops, friendship and sisterhood, humor and tears. Breezy, witty, and poignant, lucky is Rachel Vail at her breathtaking best.

HarperCollins; April 2009
256 pages; ISBN 9780061858246
Download in EPUB or secure PDF format
Excerpt

Chapter One

Our toaster is moody.

When I got down to the kitchen this morning, just my sisters were there. I said good morning to them. Allison grunted. Quinn said, "Morning. Waffles?" She was putting three frozen waffles into the toaster, one for each of us.

"Yum," I said, but I couldn't wait, so I grabbed a Smoothie out of the fridge. "Where's my Teen Vogue?"

"Should be in the trash. How can you read that crap?" Allison said, grabbing the Smoothie out of my hand to read the label. "You like these?"

I shrugged. "I wake up hungry."

"I'd give anything for your metabolism," Allison grumbled, handing the Smoothie back to me.

"Trade you for your white sweater," I said between gulps.

"I wish." She kicked off her sneakers.

"You're both skinnier than I am, so shut up," Quinn commented without looking up from whatever she was doing on her laptop.

"I'm not skinny," Allison said, yanking off her socks. "I'm interesting looking."

"Get over it," Quinn said. "Grandma didn't mean anything—"

"She meant ugly," Allison interrupted, stomping barefoot toward the back hall. "Whatever. Phoebe, did you take my new flip-flops?"

"No!" I yelled, trying to remember if I had.

The toaster lever popped up. "Phoebe!" Allison yelled at me from inside the back hall closet. "You're standing right there! Could you get the waffles? Come on. Quinn and I have to go or we'll miss our bus!"

"Oh, like the middle-school bus is so much later? Please!" I hate when Allison acts like she and Quinn are a team I'm too young to try out for. I am fourteen, not four, and she is closer to my age than Quinn's by three months.

I tossed my empty Smoothie bottle in the sink, and then, slowly enough to totally torture my sisters, opened the toaster door to check. All three waffles were soggy on the edges and hard in the middles, with little ice crystals still clinging to the tops.

"Still frozen." I closed the glass door of the stainless steel toaster oven and pressed the lever again.

Quinn's head jerked up. "Seriously? Retoasting?"

"No way," Allison yelled, coming back into the kitchen with my new flip-flops dangling from her fingers. "You know the toaster gets insulted."

"No, only you do," I told her. "Those are my flip-flops."

"They're mine! You just stole them yesterday. Yours have the stripey thing, remember?"

"Oh, yeah," I said.

I found the Teen Vogue in my bag and brought it over to where Allison was standing at the sink, wet-paper-toweling invisible dirt specks off the edges of her/my flip-flops.

"Want to see the dress I found for my graduation party?" I asked her, flipping pages. "It's green. Do you think that's—"

Allison cursed and pointed at the toaster. Smoke was curling out of it. I cursed, too, and dashed across the kitchen. When I yanked the toaster door open, a huge ball of dark smoke exploded out.

The smoke alarm started blaring.

"It's not a fire," Allison yelled at the smoke alarm on the ceiling. "Just more exploding waffles." Dropping the flip-flops, she ran to open the sliding glass door to the deck and yelled back at me, "I told you, Phoebe!"

Quinn and I waved our arms in front of the smoke, guiding it toward the fresh air, until the alarm finally quit.

"Our appliances have scary amounts of personality," Quinn said.

"Like the thing," I said, laughing. "Remember? With Mom?"

My sisters both looked at me blankly.

"The electric tea kettle! Remember?" I unplugged the toaster from the wall and, holding out the cord like a sword, announced to my sisters, "Never be intimidated!"

They smiled then, too, at the memory of our mother's epic battle against our old electric tea kettle the last time she was on one of her occasional quitting-coffee kicks.

"Want to see a failure, girls?" Mom had asked that morning last fall, spinning around to face us.

All three of us nodded. Sure. We wanted to see anything she wanted to show us. When my mother is in the room it's almost impossible to look away from her.

She grabbed the electric tea kettle and thrust it out like a weapon, as water dripped guiltily from the spout. "A tea kettle's spout should stick out," she explained, her quiet voice controlled, intense. "But this one is snub-nosed. It's indented. You know why?"

We all asked why, trying not to smile too much as our cereal, forgotten, soggified in front of us.

"Why?" she repeated. "So that boiling water will spill all over the masochist who is making tea instead of going to Starbucks like a normal person!"

My father laughed.

"It's a design failure, Jed. Admit it—it drools!" She spun around toward him. "Look, it left a spot on my new silk shirt."

The spot was microscopic, if it existed at all. In her sapphire-blue silk shirt under her black Armani suit, my mother looked, as always, flawless.

"You just have to pour it slowly, Claire," Daddy told her in his kindergarten-teacher voice. "Easy does it."

"That's so . . . tea-drinker," Mom answered, a small smile tipping up the corners of her mouth. "I'm not Zen enough for this malformed tea kettle? Fine, then, I'm not. Out it goes!" Mom slammed the full glass tea kettle into the garbage can. "That's it," she said, and turned to yank the plug out of the wall outlet so she could dump the base into the trash after the kettle. "Garbage."

Daddy smiled his crooked smile and murmured, "Oh, Claire."

"Let this be a lesson, girls," Mom told us, her chameleon eyes flashing deep sapphire. "We are the Avery women. Nobody—nothing—can intimidate us. We will never back down; we will never surrender. Especially not to moody inanimate objects!"

Daddy laughed again.

She pretended not to smile and continued. "We are warrior women! We are Valkyries! We will not—ever—allow ourselves to be bullied or mistreated! Right?"

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