Posted in 2014-2015 Club, Not Mock Newbery

Half a Chance, by Cynthia Lord

Half a ChanceSummary:  Lucy, with her mother and her photographer father, has just moved to a small rural community in New Hampshire, and with her new friend Nate she plans to spend the summer taking photos for a contest, but pictures sometimes reveal more than people are willing to see.


Find it at WCPL


9 thoughts on “Half a Chance, by Cynthia Lord

  1. This is an absolutely fabulous book. And a contender for the Newbery. Although the type of story seems average, it seems fresh because of the writing and the framework the photo contest supplies. Lucy feels sad every time her father leaves for a photography assignment. This time she is moved to a new home and quickly makes friends with Nate, a boy who lives next door. Nate does Loon Patrol with his family on behalf of his grandmother, a woman who is suffering from dementia. She can’t go out on Loon Patrol anymore, so her grandkids go. Lucy joins them on patrol at the same time as she creates photos for a contest her father is judging. She hopes that by winning the contest, she can help Grandmother Lilah and impress her father. It’s a great summer read, as well as a very distinguished piece of literature. Of course, it’s too soon to tell what else it will need to beat, but as it stands, this book has it all.

    I enjoyed seeing the loon motif repeat over and over. It was also inventive to have each chapter start with one of the words Lucy has to capture with a photo.

  2. This is a great book! I fell in love with the writing style-a mix of down-to-earth dialogue that seems like what real people would say and descriptive language. In my opinion, the strongest points of this book are the writing style and the theme. This could be a Newbery book.

  3. This book is a true contender. Cynthia Lord lets you connect with each character and feel what they are feeling. All of the main characters were developed(not lesser ones, but that is to be expected). Although I wish this story was more in-depth and a little longer, it was very captivating and moving, regardless of how much excitement was in the plot. One of my favorite things about this book was how the setting stays the same the entire book. Lucy mostly stays outdoors the entire book, and you feel like you are seeing the New Hampshire lake from her perspective. Half a Chance also featured many great lessons about doing the right thing, and it had a powerful theme: hope. I believe that this book is what the Newbery Board is looking for. This book has a more than half a chance of winning!

  4. I loved this book so much!! I didn’t want to put it down when I started reading it. I also loved it because I like taking photos like Lucy. The book was really well written and it showed how each character felt. I enjoyed the text messages the characters sent to each other, mainly because it gave you additional insight on how they felt. This book could win the Newbery.

  5. I love this book, and I don’t if it’s the loon touch or the theme of friendship, perseverance, and hope. Lucy did work hard to win the contest money to rent the boat, so Grandma Lilah could see the loons. Picturing the scenes of the book and the pictures were not a problem. I do think it has a chance of winning!

  6. This book was enjoyable and realistic, and the author used first person point of view so it was like Lucy is talking directly to you. She and Nate are easy to connect to. There was a mix of emotions, and it used a simple theme in a distinguished way. Thumbs up, Cynthia Lord!
    I loved this book and of all the books I read so far, this is my winner. 🙂

  7. This book is my winner because it is fun, enjoyable, and emotional. I connected with all the characters in the book. The characters are deep, and the theme is simple yet complicated. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. The thing that really stuck out to me about Half a Chance that made it better than the average “summer lake story” was its writing style. I enjoyed how Cynthia Lord was able to create such vivid and memorable imagery without dragging the book down with lengthy descriptions. Instead of using many words, she used a few strong ones that appealed to all senses. You didn’t just see a beautiful lake or living forest, you felt the felt the pull of the oars or the moisture of the forest floor. The way Lucy described her photographs brought the story to life and allowed you to see deeper into other wise normal and brief scenes. For example, the moment with Nate’s grandmother when she began to loose memories would have been touching without it having been captured on screen, but when we were able to look back at it from within a photograph, it was all the more moving. It surprised me that within so few pages, there could be a theme so well developed. In fact, there were actually many themes woven into the story, however the one that stuck out the most to me was along the lines of finding things in general, things ranging from acceptance to memories. Lucy and her parents move around a lot so the book starts off with her hesitantly wondering if this could be the place she and her parents had been looking for to call home. Also, she seeks to find her father’s pride which is where the main plot of the story starts, her trying to earn her father’s admiration by winning the photo contest. To tie it all together, her best photograph is the one with the title of Lost, featuring Nate’s grandmother in that terrible scene of forgetfulness. Everything in this book was pleasantly deeper than I expected, but when comparing it to others, I still find Nest, a very similar book, better, and just to name a reason, I would compare the characters in each. Although Lucy was very sweet and realistic as well as relatable, Chirp from Nest has more character and is more memorable to me. Her relationship with Joey interested me more than Nate and Lucy’s, but that is more of an issue of plot. Overall, I agree Half a Chance was more than it first appears to be and has a chance at winning an honor, but is not my choice as the Newbery Winner. One plus about this book though, is that it would appeal to younger audiences than Nest would (fourth grade through sixth), and would be a far shorter read, while still giving readers a strong taste of good writing.

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