Want personalized picks that fit your family?
Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.
Three Times Lucky
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in Three Times Lucky, a 2013 Newbery Honor Book, tween narrator Mo, was found floating down the river when she was a baby, and although she has loving adoptive parents whom she loves deeply, she spends much of her time wondering who her birth mother is. Mo and her best friend, Dale, get deeply embroiled in a murder mystery, disobeying parents and putting themselves in danger when they try to help solve it. Dale's father is an alcoholic who's abusive to his wife and children, and in one scene, he's drunk and hits his wife and threatens Dale and Mo, pushing Dale to threaten his father with a shotgun.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Rising sixth grader Mo LoBeau longs to know who her birth mother is, and she occasionally wishes she had a \"normal\" family. But she deeply loves the Colonel, who rescued her from a hurricane when she was a baby, and the glamorous Miss Lana, who took both the Colonel and Mo in. When Detective Starr rolls into town and announces to the small town of Tupelo Landing that he's solving a murder mystery, Mo joins in and starts her own detective agency. The mission becomes personal when another murder happens right in town, and both the Colonel and Miss Lana go missing. As Mo desperately searches for clues to find her adoptive parents, she starts to rethink her definition of family.
Is it any good?
Mo's conversational voice will draw readers right in to THREE TIMES LUCKY, and her distinctive worldview will keep them reading. Mo's language is filled with colorful, over-the-top similes that infuse a casual humor into her observations (a woman wheezes "like an out-of-sorts accordion," and Miss Lana "sleeps like a sack of cement"), but Mo is also sensitive to the serious issues that the people she loves face.
Though initially the story seems more a portrait of a quirky small town and its (mostly) lovable, eccentric residents, midway through the book, the plot picks up as everything starts to tie together, and Three Times Lucky becomes a page-turner that's difficult to put down.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Mo's family situation could be viewed both as unusual or perfectly normal. In what ways does your family fit the classic idea of family? In what ways is it different?
There's no cell phone service and barely any Internet in Tupelo Landing, yet Mo and Dale find lots of ways to keep themselves busy. What would you do if you were stuck in a small town for the summer with no media?
Have you ever learned something valuable from someone you didn't like, the way Miss Lana learned from Mr. Jesse, even though no one liked him much?
- Author: Sheila Turnage
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Dial Books
- Publication date: May 10, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 17
- Number of pages: 312
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Award: Newbery Medal and Honors
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love mysteries
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.