Lucy has been the new kid before, so she thinks that she knows what to expect when she moves into a lake house in New Hampshire with her camera in hand. With her famous photographer father on location and her mother busy unpacking and working, Lucy has a lot of time to spend on the lake with her new neighbor, Nate, and his family. With Nate’s help, Lucy is determined to win a photography contest. Initially her motive was to prove her talent to her father, but the closer she becomes with Nate, the more she wants to win to use the prize money to help give one last great experience to Nate’s grandmother, who’s health is deteriorating due to dementia. When she has to choose between art and her relationships, Lucy begins to look at the world straight on, instead of behind a camera lens.
I was pleasantly surprised by this appealing, well-written novel. Lucy is an introspective, smart, and realistic 12-year-old trying to figure out the challenges of growing up. The relationship between Lucy and Nate was sweet, with what felt like genuine affection. Half a Chance takes on a lot of tough subjects gently and with grace. A great summer read for 3rd-6th graders.
Other great summer recommendations for 3rd-6th graders: