Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle

35297357Lowe, Nathasha. Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle
February 20th 2018 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Lucy hates change, so when she meets up with her best friend Ella after a summer away at her grandmother's, she is chagrined to find that Ella is wearing clean, fashionable clothes, is doing hip hop dance, has new friends, and doesn't believe in magic. Not only that, but Lucy's world is rocked when her parents not only announce that they are having another baby, but her mother's illness due to pregnancy makes her unable to provide Lucy with spaghetti on Monday nights and chocolate cake on demand. Fourth grade gets off to a rocky start, since Lucy doesn't know with whom to hang out, although she does eventually befriend the quiet, accordion playing Rachel who is also interested in reading The Lord of the Rings books. Since her mother is so ill, rather quirky neighbor Chloe, who has graduated from high school but is just starting to interview for colleges, is pressed into helping. As the year progresses, Lucy's mother remains ill enough that Chloe stays around and Lucy starts to work out some strategies to deal with the changes in her life.
Strengths: Friend drama, especially in middle school and in fourth grade, is a very real occurrence in the lives of many children, and the changes in friendship can be sudden and brutal. This is a well written book, and it definitely kept me reading. Lucy's family is very well drawn, from her high school history teacher father to her free lance writer mother, and Lucy's existence is very cozy. The fear of a new sibling is also very real.
Weaknesses: Lucy seems much younger than fourth grade, so I don't know that this book would be successful in middle school. Wanting to cuddle on the couch between her parents, believing in magic, and actually thinking that her parents are going to give HER away when she overhears a conversation about a baby buggy all make Lucy seem more like she is in second grade.
What I really think: I am very interested to see if Ms. Lowe writes some books for slightly older readers, and I think that many elementary school teachers will love this one, since it champions the idea that children should be true to themselves.

I don't believe that any of us can really be true to ourselves, unless we want to live with constant censure and rejection. Even as an adult, I carefully gauge what I reveal to the world, but I still have way too much personality leakage.
Ms. Yingling

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