Monday, January 9, 2017

HALF A CHANCE by Cynthia Lord (Adult & Young Reader review included)

It was unknown to my ten year old son when he picked up this book that I had taken four years of photography in school and had majored in the subject for three years in college.  Therefore, when the girl started talking about backgrounds, subjects, lighting and F-stops, it was easy for me to follow right along with her.
Here’s the third book in our Mother – Son Book Club!

“I’m here. Where are you?”     ~    “I’m here!”

HALF A CHANCE by Cynthia Lord

2016 Mark Twain Nominee


When Lucy's family moves to an old house on a 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.


2.5 out of 5 *Stars*

I have to be completely honest here… I don’t believe there was anything about this book that will stay with me.  It was a quick and easy read, I’ll give it that, but it lacked the emotion that I like to feel when being drawn into a new book.
It centered on a girl, Lucy, who was desperate for more love and attention from her father.  So desperate that she entered a photography contest that was being judged by him, so he could see how truly good she was.  In turn, he would find her more fascinating than the things that kept pulling him away across the world.  
Teamed up with new neighbors that quickly become her friends, she checks off all the topics for the photography scavenger hunt, each chapter being labeled a certain category, and ends up learning more about life, sorrow and the ordinary beauty that surrounds us every day.    
“Even in the midst of horrible things, there are little bits of wonder, and all of its true.”
By the end of the book, after Lucy helped a family of loons as well as getting to know Grandma Lilah and her family, Lucy understood exactly what her father meant when he spoke those words.
With this book heavily dipped into the world of photography, you can only imagine how descriptive the scenes became.  As Lucy positioned her camera for a shot, she took into count the lighting, the background, the subject, the smell, and the overall feeling the picture brought forth in people.  This book captured all of that, and made it easily flow.  I never felt like a scene ran on too long to incorporate all of the information.
It was the plot that had me so unengaged. I know that there was supposed to be a profound message, and I got the meaning, but I had to dig deep to find it.  The story focused so much on the photography aspect and not enough on the emotion and action behind the camera.  It’s no surprise if someone believed that’s all the book had to offer; shutter speeds and backlighting…

************************* Young Reader Review ***************************

There’s not too much I have to say about this book.  I had a hard time connecting with it because of how much it talked about the photography.  I didn’t understand why it had to be like that because it made me lose track of what was going on with the characters. 

However I did like when they went to go visit the loons. It felt as if I was right there with them.  However, because of this, the part that I disliked the most ALSO included the loons. I won’t give anything away, but I will just say that it’s sad. 

I’m not sure that I liked the book too much, but I didn’t hate it either.  It was just a book.
Thank you.


Overall, I just didn’t connect with this story. It was a fast read that was cute and had great scenic descriptions, but I was constantly asking, “Why was the scene written, did it even need to be in there?”  I couldn’t help but analyze the book.  It was written in a way where getting lost in the story was nearly impossible.  I would probably direct someone to a more entertaining read, if asked.  Harsh, but true.
Until next time…

Happy Reading, Everyone!

“Goodbye isn’t the worst thing in the world. Sometimes it’s simply time to go.”

For more on this book and where you can find it, click here.

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