Summer of L.U.C.K. is a story about three children who struggle with problems related to vocalization, and who become friends at summer camp. Darby speaks with a stutter and has low self-esteem. Naz moves to America from Morocco with his mother, and is learning to speak English. Justin is dealing with the loss of his father and his inability to voice his feelings or talk about his situation. With their difficult background, they are at first inhibited by their ability to trust and connect, but with the story unfolding and all three going on a joined adventure where they experience a combination of magic and mysterious, they all find their voices
The book is interesting for children who experience similar challenges and who are familiar with the summer camps US style.
Since the first pages the mystery of a music that only the protagonists can hear, sparks the reader’s curiosity: what does this mean, where will this lead them? They follow the music call from an abandoned magical carnival. When a former owner, who happens to be a kindly ghost, asks for a favour, the three children go on an adventure, facing their fears.
The message of this story is very strong. It focuses on self-discovery, acceptance and healing, on creating bonds and friendships, kindness, helping others and seeing things from other people’s point of view.
The protagonists overcome their fears whilst helping others, including themselves, and gain confidence that will allow them to endure the relationships and situations in the “real world” and back home. This all is wrapped in a world of magic, where everything is possible if you just believe.
The multiple changes of point of views in the first chapters can be difficult to follow for younger readers, but once they get used to it, they will adjust to the rhythm of the story and understand how these threads were necessary to get a deeper understanding of the characters.
The characters are diverse in their appearance and provenience, and other languages are used here and there, which I personally liked as it allows English language learners to relate to at least one of the characters.
The story is situated in the US and readers who don’t know what calliope music is, or who Johnny Rebeck or Jack Sprat are, need to look them up to understand their meaning.
This book is interesting for children to read independently, but I can also imagine that parents may want to read it with their children, talk about what happens in the chapters, anticipate the plot and discuss the choices the main characters make.
And, like the author promises in the final note: “keep an eye out for its sequel, coming soon”.
Follow the author and her books here: https://www.laurastegman.com/
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