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Half a Chance

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  5,423 ratings  ·  672 reviews
A moving new middle-grade novel from the Newbery Honor author of Rules.

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 e
Hardcover, 218 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Scholastic Press
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Catherine I think it is for girls and boys but maybe girls would prefer it slightly more.

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Ms. Yingling
Dec 23, 2013 rated it liked it
Lucy's father is a photographer who suffers from Pa Ingalls Syndrome-- he doesn't like to stay in one place for very long, so he leaves Lucy and her mother in New Hampshire while he flies off to Arizona to shoot pictures of endangered bugs. Lucy manages missing her father by taking pictures of her own. When she meets Nate, she is glad to have a friend (the girls she meets are a little snotty), and is glad when his grandmother invites her to be on Loon Patrol and keep notes on the endangered loon ...more
You can tell that Cynthia Lord was a teacher because she knows how to write honestly about kids and their motives and emotions. Get tissues for the end. I read every word, but the last two chapters were a little blurry through the tears. A special and remarkable book that I cannot wait to pass into kids' hands. I already have a few names in mind:)
This is a great summer read for a 10 or 11 year-old girl, especially someone who may not be ready for more mature content. My family used to go to a lake like this one every Summer with two or three other families, and I remember that there was a certain magic to those trips that rendered invisible all of the differences between us kids. For two weeks, it didn't matter if you were a boy or a girl, or if you were the oldest or the youngest--you were best friends with everyone else there. I think ...more
Jessica | Bookish Serendipity
*ARC received from publisher in exchange for an honest review*
This review originally appeared on

One of the things on my book wish list was more middle grade novels about goal-oriented children—kid writers, bloggers, entrepreneurs, activists, etcetera. One of the main reasons that I was interested in this novel was because I love the idea of a novel featuring a kid photographer. So many different possibilities there!

That being said, Lucy was sweet and friendly and overa
Mar 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Half a Chance is just an outstanding book- a true work of art. Beautiful, fun, and full of truths and new thoughts, (not to mention the best ending EVER!) Half a Chance will keep you wanting to turn the page and yet never wanting to get closer to the last page! Lucy has just moved to an old house on the New Hampshire lake, and her dad, a famous photographer, has just left for another business trip. Wanting to prove herself to her dad, she secretly enters a photography contest that he is jud ...more
Ian Tymms
Lovely story. Worthy selection for the Red Dot Older readers awards. I think my Grade 6s will love this one.

A story about finding your place and coping with change. On the surface Lucy's story is about her first summer at her new home - bird watching, getting to know her new neighbours, taking photographs. The photo competition that her father is judging works as a clever narrative device as the mechanisms of visual story-telling bleed into the themes of Lord's novel. It's clever and subtle and
Jill Farr
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Don’t ever choose the people who don’t matter over the ones who do.”
Kanye Smith
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord is one of the best books because it involves taking an adventure, having fun, and starting a new life in a new place. It reminds me of when I left elementary school and came to middle school, it was strange because I didn't know that many people but as the days went by, I had fun and became friends with lots of people. This relates to Lucy's position because at first she didn't know anyone on the lake but when she met Nate they soon became good friends.

Lucy, her mom
Brittany Creek
May 18, 2016 rated it liked it
"Half a Chance" is a book that is about a Lucy who loved photography very much, partially to do with her father being a professional photographer that traveled all over the world. Lucy never believed that her pictures were good enough to compare with her father. She really wanted to show everyone she was good enough so she decided she needed a way of knowing for sure. When Lucy meets a boy named Nate that is visiting his grandmother next door that's suffering from memory loss in her old age. Eve ...more
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Cynthia Lord captured a snapshot of life in New England so realistically. Though set in New Hampshire, it easily could portray life on a Maine lake as well. She introduces us to Lucy,'the new kid', figuring out the pecking order of friendships, when her family moves frequently. We also meet her new neighbor's family, who's matriarch is dealing with the onset of dementia. Cynthia has a way of revealing real life issues without being preachy or dark. From autism in Rules, to foster children in Tou ...more
Paula Guinto
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a lovely little read about summers, photography, new friendships, missing, birds, family and respecting our subjects. The language is accessible, the arc simple but the gentle way Lord tackles loneliness and vulnerability and love hits a chord. I liked this one a lot. Many of you will enjoy it.
Barb Middleton
My mother-in-law's photography hobby led her to tipping a canoe in a quagmire of lilypads and sending her expensive camera to the bottom of the lake. I've had my own adventures where my scared dog tipped the canoe jumping out, then tried to drown my husband by wrapping his body around his shoulders and head. Lucy Emery, the new kid, is not a klutz and while she takes pictures in a kayak and brings her dog with on one trip she is a cautious girl that doesn't have any disasters like me. She assimi ...more
C.J. Milbrandt
Lucy and her parents move a lot, and their newest home is a lakeside cabin in New Hampshire. One of the first people she meets is Nate, whose family is staying in the cabin next door for the summer. He's happy to show her around, and she's glad to accept ... with camera in hand. Photography contests and finding the story. Pink kayaks and mountain views. Tremolos and loonsong lessons. Business trips and bad days.

I did like this story (wish I could bump to 3.5 stars), but the tensions and pettine
Meghan Hunt
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cynthia Lord is currently one of my favorite juvenile authors. Rules, Half a Chance, and a Handful of Stars are amazing, empathy-building reads. They're well-written and not saccharine or preachy.
Mike in Nevada
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Good story and good message about young friendships, nature and compassion for others without being too sentimental. Theme probably targets early teens, perhaps a little younger.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Lucy Emery's family has moved yet again, this time to a lovely old lakeside house in New Hampshire. And even though it won't be the first time she's been the "new girl," Lucy, 12, knows it can be difficult to make friends with kids who have known each other for a long time.

To make matter more difficult, Lucy's father, a well-known nature photographer, is off to Arizona immediately, leaving her and her mother to deal with the new house. Just before he leaves, Lucy discovers her father is going to
Carol Royce Owen
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was already in my TBR pile when a friend posted that after reading it she just sat and hugged the book for a while. I thought to myself, "We'll see." I just didn't want to get my hopes up since I've been reeling from some critical book reviews of some favorites lately, and was beginning to wonder who I could trust. Well, I didn't hug the book. I kissed it. In fact, I think I kissed it a couple of times. It's a gem.

Lucy has just moved to a home by a lake with her mom and dad, but as soon as
Holly Mueller
I finished this book on my birthday; it was like unwrapping a gift. What a beautiful story! Lucy just moved with her family to a lake house in New Hampshire, and her dad, whom she admires, is frequently gone on photography assignments for work. She is a budding photographer herself, but needs approval from her father, which she doesn't always get. When a photography contest comes up that her dad is judging, she decides it's the perfect opportunity to show off her talent and hopefully get validat ...more
4.5 stars.

A beautifully written, introspective, realistic middle-grade about a girl, Lucy, who moves to a New Hampshire lake house and befriends a boy visiting for the summer and his grandmother who seems to be suffering from the early stages of dementia.

There are so many layers to this story: Lucy and Nate's family looking after the lake's loons; Lucy's relationship with her famous photographer father, who spends most of the book away on assignment and who Lucy aspires to impress with her own
Feb 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Alice, Librariansteph, Marti, Elissa, Nadine
Recommended to Martha by: NetGalley
When Lucy moves to New Hampshire, she is once again the new girl living in a cottage surrounded by summer folks enjoying the beautiful lake and nearby majestic mountains. Almost immediately her famous photographer father departs on a photo shoot leaving Lucy and her mother once again, to unpack their new home. While departing, her father mentions a photo competition for children he must judge upon his return. Being his daughter, Lucy realizes entering his photo contest might prove a conflict of ...more
Apr 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
What would you do if you only had half a chance to do something?This book is realistic fiction.I thought was a fantastic book with an interesting story and detailed chapters.

The main character is Lucy. The setting is in New Hampshire. When Lucy just moved to New Hampshire, she feels that she's going to have a tough summer, but she meets her neighbors Nate and Emily. After her father(a famous photographer)goes away on a trip, she enters a contest that he's judging. The conflict is person vs pers
Cate Brooks
Debating between 3 and 4 stars. It is an objectively great book - great themes throughout between the loon watching and the photography and hits all the points on what it is like to try to make friends (how insecure and vulnerable one feels) in a new place, especially at that age. But not sure how well it would go over with many kids. Personally, I found myself pretty annoyed with the father in the story which I know was part of the conflict but Lucy's relationship with him got darker and sadder ...more
Lucy was very passionate about photography and I thought the photo scavenger hunt was a very creative idea. Each of the pictures were used to describe a word (sticky, skip, holding on, wonder etc.) with the added challenge to not just take a picture with that word, but to really look beyond just the word or phrase. Lucy thinks that she has the advantage, because she always looks for the “story in the shot.” I could see this being adapted in a classroom very easily. There was also a very good mor ...more
Justine Ridder
I really did enjoy this youth chapter book which is very hard to do because I normally think they are watered down and boring. Lucy moves around a lot because her father is a famous photographer. Lucy, her mother, and father move to a lake. The first friend she makes is Nate. Nate's grandmother is suffering from dementia. She gets confused and scared a lot. The book shows how difficult this is not only for the grandmother, but also the family who love her so much. I believe this book shows real ...more
Lea Wait
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lucy's dad, an internationally famous photographer, has just moved his family to a lake in New Hampshire. While he spends the summer in Japan, Lucy and her mom get their new house organized, and Lucy worries about making new friends. She finds one friend quickly -- Nate, whose extended family (including his grandmother) live next door, at least for the summer months. Lucy is a serious amateur photographer who hopes to win her dad's praise. She discovers he'll be judging a contest for young photo ...more
Om Manghani
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: winter-2015, grade-8
Great book, with a lot of great attributes.

I really liked how throughout the book, smaller points of conflict arose, which made the book a lot more realistic. In life, we do not always encounter one big problem, we usually encounter a lot of smaller problems, and we learn lessons from tackling all of the problems together.

There were some good themes in the book, about appearance, friendship, and doing what you think is right. I did not do the "work" on this book, but I feel it was able to have
Jeff Raymond
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another winner from Cynthia Lord.

This book takes place during a summer at a New Hampshire lake. Lucy's father is a photographer, and Lucy likes taking photographs too, so she, along with her new friends around the lake, opt to enter a photography contest judged by Lucy's father. The book follows this attempt around, highlighting a lot of the difficult issues with friends and family and even the environment around them.

It's a nice, quiet book. There are a lot of quiet reads in the middle grade fi
Kristy Gillespie
Nov 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Half a Chance is one of the ten Virginia Reader's Choice novels. Things I like about this novel: it's appropriate for all students at my middle school. There isn't any foul language or content and it's easy to read so it would be suitable for reluctant readers. Lucy, the main character, is likable and the plot is simple yet complex.

Things I didn't like about this novel: it's very slow to start. There's a lot of talk about photography but there aren't any pictures which I think would add to the
Ms. B
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, mhl, childrens
Lucy and her parents have just moved to a cottage on a lake in New Hampshire. Lucy's father is a photographer who likes to move every couple years or so; he also spends a good chunk of time away from the family on assignments. Lucy misses him greatly. With the help of Nate, she decides to enter a photography contest that he is judging to try and impress him. Will the plan work?
In addition, Nate has problems of his own. His family stays at the lake each summer with his Grandma Lilah. This may be
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord is about a girl named Lucy. Her dad is a professional photographer. She is used to moving a lot because of here dads job. When her family moves to New Hampshire, she meets a boy named Nate. Than one day Lucy learns that her dad is judging a photography contest, she enters and hopes to use the money to get Nate"s grandma a boat to go bird watching . Will she win? Can she win?

This is an amazing story and would recommend this to any middle schoolers. It is a emotiona
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I'm the author of the children's book, RULES."
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“At some point, you just have to choose. And then be brave enough to stand up to the people who think you made the wrong choice.” 4 likes
“(I)t's just as important to show the hard things in the world as it is to show the beautiful ones. Even in the midst of horrible things, there are little bits of wonder, and all of it's true.” 3 likes
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