This book is called, HALF A CHANCE’, written by Cynthia Lord. It is about a girl named Lucy who loves photography. Lucy and her family move to a new house and Lucy tries to take as many pictures of her new house as she can. Her father is a photographer too who goes on many trips to take pictures. Lucy has inherited her father’s love of photography. One day, while collecting a few files for her father, she learns that he is judging a competition and really wants to join. At first, Lucy is hurt because her father didn’t tell her but, she is determined to show her father what she is capable of. There’s one problem though: since Lucy is the daughter of one of the judges, it may seem unfair for her to take pictures because if she wins, people may think it’s her father being lenient. This must have been the reason Lucy is not informed about the competition. So, Lucy takes the help of her new friend, Nate, in order to enter. She uses his name as the participant’s name (with his permission). First, Lucy is only eager to show her father what she can do and possibly win some money to spend on her friends and family. Then, Nate gives her an even bigger reason to enter for the competition: Nate’s grandma wants to hire a boat and sail on the lake once again. Ever since Lucy moved into her new house, Nate and his family have always tried to make her feel at home. Nate becomes quite special to Lucy and she becomes jealous of Nate’s other friend, Megan. In the competition, Lucy has to take many pictures under some topics stated on a paper. For example, there is a category called, ‘Not Yet’ and Lucy has to take a picture of something which she feels means, ‘Not Yet’. Together, Nate and Lucy have fun taking pictures. Their friendship grows stronger and stronger and apart from photography, the two go kayaking in the lake where adorable loons (birds) are found. They put up posters to raise awareness of the baby loons. Meanwhile, Lucy’s father is well away from the situation and thinks Nate is the participant. After finishing all the photos, Lucy’s father judges the competition and Lucy (who is acting as Nate) is a runner up! In the end, Lucy decides to tell the truth and admits that she was the photographer. Her father is quite impressed because of her work, shocked because she was so insistant and worried that Lucy’s hard work would go waste if the other judges disqualified her. However, everything goes well and Lucy and Nate finally get to take Nate’s Grandmother on a boat trip on the lake. Suddenly, Nate goes back home for a while and Lucy is alone with Megan. The two then become great friends and share Nate evenly. Click, click! Lucy the photographer shines through!
What I like about this book:
  • I really like that this book is about photography because it is a very unique topic. I haven’t heard of or read many books which are mostly based on, ‘Photography’. I wonder how Cynthia Lord got the idea of this theme for the book? Perhaps, she was a photography enthusiast.
  • I really like that Lucy is very passionate about photography and has  the confidence to know that she is good and she can improve although her father never tells her so.
  • At the end of the book, there is a slight twist. Nate gets angry with Lucy because she uses a picture he doesn’t want her to use. When the author describes the picture earlier in the book, I felt like I was there, taking the picture and seeing Nate’s grandmother looked fearful and gripping a cup. This picture repeats itself in my brain whenever I think of photography and I hope if and when you read the book, you can picture the photo too.
  • When I read the book, I learnt two very good lessons. The first one was to actually embrace people’s talents and to encourage them. I felt as if Lucy’s father was being a little disparaging towards Lucy by not taking much notice of her talent. The second lesson was to share things- such as money-generously. This is portrayed best in Lucy who is willing to use the money on Nate’s grandmother though it is her money that she has earned.
  • Finally.. Fun time! Read the book and answer these questions:
1.    What is Nate’s sister’s name?
2.   What is Nate’s dad’s profession?
3.   Do Nate and Lucy ever do anything alone just together? What?
4.   What mountain do they climb?
5.   Which three places are the posters put up?