Summer of L.U.C.K.
Published September 15, 2020
About Summer of L.U.C.K.
Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin’s been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words. When they sneak inside, the dark, empty space bursts into a magical carnival. They’re greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach the kids how to find their voices.
As Darby, Justin, and Naz are swept off on a series of midnight adventures via Mr. Usher’s carnival rides, they discover they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to revive the carnival. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher’s resistant son? If not, she’ll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all.
The story follows all three kids– Darby, Justin, and Naz, showing scenes in each point of view. The bulk of the story takes place at a summer camp called Camp Inch, where each of them face the thing they’re most afraid of.
They also each discover a connection with each other, and those friendships help give them the confidence to confront bigger fears. Naz, Justin, and Darby also learn a lot about family relationships as they learn about Mr. Usher’s family and the relationships between him and his children, all of whom are adults now.
I thought the story was sweet and the characters’ stories moving. I liked the background of the summer camp and how their experiences at camp tied together with the Usher family and the fate of the carnival.
Readers who enjoy summer camp stories or tales with a whimsical feel to them will like this one. If you enjoyed FOREVERLAND or THE GIRLS OF FIREFLY CABIN, definitely add SUMMER OF L.U.C.K. to your reading list.
Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.
Naz is French and Morroccan. Darby stutters. Justin is selectively mute.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Naz, Justin, and Darby are visited by the presence of a man who has died but can’t find peace until he achieves a goal. They have a sort of magical experience, seeing the carnival the way it once was and interacting with carnival rides that shouldn’t work anymore.
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