Cover Image: Lucky Turtle

Lucky Turtle

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Member Reviews

This book was not for me. I thought the writing was engaging, but the content got kind of creepy and then it kind of trailed off and I became bored. It was called a "thrilling love story" but I found it juvenile and uncomfortable.

After getting in with the wrong crowd, and being involved in an armed robbery, 16-year-old Cindra is sent from her old life in Massachusetts to essentially a youth detention center/camp out in the middle of nowhere Montana. The doctor there needs to do vaginal exams on the girls practically weekly, and it is addressed as creepy, but kind of just brushed over.

Cindra meets Lucky (who is a fully grown adult man), a bus driver for the camp. I found him to just be so creepy and weird, but I think the author was going for mysterious. He immediately tells Cindra upon meeting her that his aunt had a vision, and she is his wife. And then just starts calling her his wife and that is that. The two fall in love, and he breaks Cindra out of the camp, and they run away when she finds out she is pregnant.

The book basically romanticizes the "true love" story of an adult man and a teenage, troubled girl. I didn't care for it. I didn't find it charming and endearing like many others, just icky.

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REVIEW: Lucky Turtle

Cindra is a teenage girl who gets herself, caught up in a bad situation. Since she is white with no priors, she is offered the opportunity to go to a behavioral modification camp in Montana rather than serve jail time. Quite quickly she is a fish out of water, but she finds refuge in one of the young male employees. Lucky is a mixed race boy who keeps quiet, and does his work. When he and Cindra fall in love, they run away together and live in a remote cabin. We are with them as they survive, hunting, gardening and avoiding capture. Cut two years later when they are apart and we learn how that happened and where their lives took them, always hoping to recapture the feeling they had with one another.

I really enjoyed this story. At first and they are just misunderstood young people trying to find their way and then later in life has really beat them down how they find hope. There’s quite a bit of racism and prejudice in the story, which is hard to read, but probably quite accurate. I enjoyed the complexity of luckey and his family‘s backstory. I also really like the survival aspects and for those who like a romance you can really route for I think Lucky and Cindra will give you that.

Thanks to Algonquin Books for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.

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Lucky Turtle is truly a love story unlike any other. With a cast of quirky and vivid characters, the book tells the story of Cindra and Lucky, two people who fall in love while Cindra is a resident at Camp Challenge. One fateful night, she runs away with Lucky and begins her life outside of the confines of the Camp. Other characters are also brought into their circle and living compound, making for a unique read that you won't forget anytime soon.

The book jumps between 1997 at the beginning of their relationship and early 2020 just as the pandemic hit. At times, the story itself is sad, but it certainly has a big-hearted ending that will leave you with happy tears.

This was one I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did!
Thank you Algonquin Books and NetGalley for the eARC!

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A. vast, swooping, culturally diverse, absorbing and intensely romantic narrative, crammed with survival skills and lore. Is it to be taken straight, for its impassioned, liberal embrace of epic proportions? Probably not. It’s strength is in its romanticism, which is another broad swathe, including young and old, gay and straight, and all body types.
This is persuasive large-hearted stuff. Sometimes it goes too far, too long or over the top, But it’s undoubtedly value for money, for those who want their social justice wrapped in dreamy creativity and spread out under the stars.

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What a marvel of characters, plot, description, and (rare in my reading of late) happy ending. AND, Roorbach tells this story through the voice of a teen pregnant girl and did so with nary a false word. I have already mentioned this to several friends as one to put on their TBRs.
I look forward to two things. Seeing him this weekend at Booktopia and reading his back list.

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I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn't really sure what to expect going in, and I think things got off to a rocky start for me in terms of the voice of the main character. I'm not sure why, but I was really thrown off initially by the description of Cindra, her family, her community in Boston, and their way of speaking. For some reason the voice just sounded very "Southern" to me, and as someone who grew up in Maine and has lived in New England all her life, including in Boston, it felt very inauthentic. I'm not really sure what caused this disconnect, because Roorbach is a native of New England as well. Maybe he was just reaching for the diction of a particular religious context and for some reason to me that read Southern. But it just didn't feel authentic to where Cindra is supposed to be from and the time period. So initially, that soured me to the book a bit, I have to admit. But I was intrigued enough by the story, which moves along at a really nice pace, and the writing style overall, so I was able to get right back into it. I ended up loving this book. While it might not be any Bostonian dialect I'm familiar with, Cindra's voice was really original, engaging, and endearing. I was weeping by the end of the book when she and her son are reunited with Lucky Turtle. I think Roorbach managed things really well. The characters are well developed, the character relationships are interesting, the stakes are high in the right places, the pace is well balanced, the atmosphere is very effective, and the story itself is fascinating. As we learn more and more about Lucky Turtle's life story, and the history that comes before, I was so enthralled. Overall, I loved it, I'd really like to get it for my library!

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"Lucky Turtle" took awhile for me to get into, and then it became a more enjoyable read. It's a novel about a White teenaged girl who gets in trouble and ends up in a reformatory camp where she falls in love with an older Native American man, and she escapes the camp and lives in the wild with her boyfriend. For me, the calling him "husband" all the time was grating. We didn't get to know the girl that well before she was sent to Montana, but we know she loved her father considerably more than her mother, but never saw these relationships. Then the novel shifts and a couple decades pass, before we are more or less reunited with most of the characters.

'Maybe I'm just too cynical for this supposed love story but I just didn't see that much love in this story.

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I loved the characters in this book and the writing is so beautiful. I am in awe of someone being able to come up with this plot and all the details, such an interesting premise. I especially liked the part up until the time they had to leave their wilderness home; after that it wrapped up a little too neatly. Still loved it though and want to read more by Roorbach.

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Bill Roorbach puts together words in a beautiful way. At a girls detention camp Cindra meets Lucky and they run away and start a new life together. Beautifully written.

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Cindra, a suburban teen, makes some poor choices that get her sent to a reform camp of questionable expertise in the Rocky Mountains. There she meets Lucky, both a captive and her captor. Their epic coming of age love story begins when they run away to live on an old homestead in the hills of Montana where of course they cannot remain forever.

Bill Roorbach magically describes both the wilds of the American west and young, intense love.

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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A teenager makes bad choices that land her in a rehabilitation community that has dark secrets.

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