Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord

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Realistic Fiction/JFIC/tween

Lucy’s family moves to New Hampshire and she becomes friends with some of the summer resident kids who also live around the lake.  They spend their days together on “Loon patrol,” reporting on the activities of the loons nesting around the lake, kayaking, and hiking.  When Lucy’s father – a famous photographer – tells her he’ll be judging a photography contest when he gets back from his current assignment, Lucy – who shares his passion for photography – decides to enter.   Although there are no rules against family members entering the contest, Lucy is worried that her dad won’t give her photos a chance if she enters under her own name, so she uses her friend Nate’s name to submit her work.  Nate helps Lucy with ideas for her portfolio, but becomes upset when Lucy decides to include a photo of his grandmother.  Lucy’s intentions are the best – she wants to win the contest so they can do something nice for Nate’s grandmother – but going against Nate’s wishes may cause her to lose her best friend.

A good, wholesome summer read, Lucy has to navigate not only unfamiliar waters (in her kayak), but also unfamiliar territory as she makes new friends, misses an absent father whom she loves and admires, tackles moral/ethical quandaries, and has a first encounter with a loved one’s dementia.

* * * Stars (Pretty good)

Reviewed by Karin Thogersen, Young Adult Librarian

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