I’ve been lucky enough to get to be an early reader of all Kate Clayborn’s Chance of a Lifetime books in ARC (advance reader’s copy) form. And if someone were to ask me which of them was my favorite, I couldn’t begin to tell you. They’re all so good. All so individual, while still retaining that Kate Clayborn-ness.
Why don’t you ask me which one of my cats are my favorite while you’re at it, you monster?
The basic premise is that best friends Kit, Zoe, and Greer collectively purchase a lottery ticket and actually win. They split the money (life-changing money, but not buy-an-island money) and each book examines the different ways in which the money helps the friends do what they’ve always wanted to do. Kit, who was raised in a chaotic, nomadic way, purchases a home. Zoe, a corporate lawyer disenchanted with the things her job had required of her, quits. And Greer, who has a history of illness and hand-to-mouth living as a result of medical bills, is able to go to college. Along the way, each also falls in love. So you also get to meet their loving, maddening, complicated men and watch them work through all the challenges they need to navigate in order to be together.
Kate writes first-person present point of view stories so well that it almost makes me want to write in that POV. And I was once a person who didn’t even like to read first-person present. She’s that good. She’s immersive and lyrical and she shows such empathy for how complicated people and their reactions to things can be. For example, this is from Best of Luck, the third in the series (out November 27, 2018):
“I have to get back in there,” he says, and he’s made that sound so impossible. So difficult. There’s something stunning about it—him out here, against this wall, holding on to my hand like it’s a lifeline—when I’ve seen the pictures he’s taken. It seems like no one who’s taken those pictures, pictures that freeze tense, explosive moments of conflict, could ever be panicked about anything.
But maybe it should seem like someone who’s taken those pictures should be panicked about everything.
She can also write completely swoon-tastic moments. Like this one, from the same book. It nearly made me weep on the train:
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’d thought he was leaving. Again. “You don’t even believe in luck.”
He looks at me for a long time. “I don’t,” he says, simply, a small shrug of his shoulders. “But I believe in you.”
All of this is to say, in my usual, “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing when I write reviews but you should really get these books” way is…get these books. The first two (Beginner’s Luck and Luck of the Draw) are already available and the full set is also available for pre-order as a bundle:
NB: Kate is a personal friend of mine, however that has not influenced this review.