Hello friends! I have another book review for you today. I received a batch of ARCs from Scholastic Canada and this was among them. Thanks Scholastic! Half A Chance hit shelves on February 25th.
When Lucy’s family moves to an old house on a New Hampshire lake, Lucy tries to see her new home through her camera’s lens, as her father has taught her — he’s a famous photographer, away on a shoot. Will her photos ever meet his high standards?
When she discovers that he’s judging a photo contest, Lucy decides to enter anonymously. She wants to find out if her eye for photography is really special — or only good enough. As she seeks out subjects for her photos, Lucy gets to know Nate, the boy next door. But slowly the camera reveals what Nate doesn’t want to see: his grandmother’s memory is slipping away, and with it much of what he cherishes about his summers on the lake.
This summer, Nate will learn about the power of art to show truth. And Lucy will learn how beauty can change lives . . . including her own.
*ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review*
One of the things on my book wish list was more middle grade novels about goal-oriented children—kid writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, activists, etcetera. One of the main reasons that I was interested in this novel was because I love the idea of a novel featuring a kid photographer. So many different possibilities there!
That being said, Lucy was sweet and friendly and overall a likeable character, but nothing exceptional. I liked that her voice was strong but as a character, she wasn’t particularly special. I tend to favor quirky, irresistible characters. Since Lucy is a regular girl, I didn’t connect with her as well as I could have. I really liked her neighbour Nate, though! He was kind and honest and overall, just a fun character to read about.
I can see why Cynthia Lord is a Newberry Honor winner. Her writing is just perfect! It doesn’t try to be flashy or gimmicky or humorous where humor isn’t necessary. The words are right where they need to be for the reader to be able to visualize the scene without being overwhelmed with description. Ms. Lord can, effortlessly it appears, get into the heads of her characters and view the world from Lucy’s point of view. Here is an example:
“When Nate looked at it, he saw his grandmother, the person he loved. I couldn’t make him understand that sometimes a photo was more than that. It had a regular truth that you could see with your eyes, and a second one that you felt. This photo would make the person looking at it experience something important. And that made it special.
It made it art.
The ending was very satisfying, but not in a and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after way, which I liked. Lucy had to deal with some losses but she also gained new knowledge and friends. Win some, lose some! I think that kids will be able to connect with the end of Half A Chance because like the real world, nothing is really perfect.
Overall, I was very satisfied with this novel. It is charming and realistic and I enjoyed it greatly! Half a Chance is the kind of sweet novel that is best read on a beach at the lake with waves licking at your toes. Especially a New Hampshire lake. A nice light read. 4 stars!
Have you read any Cynthia Lord novels previously? Do you think you will read Half a Chance?