Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Love, Lucas

Love, Lucas
by Chantele Sedgwick
From the publisher:
"A powerful story of loss, second chances, and first love, reminiscent of Sarah Dessen and John Green.

When Oakley Nelson loses her older brother, Lucas, to cancer, she thinks she’ll never recover. Between her parents’ arguing and the battle she’s fighting with depression, she feels nothing inside but a hollow emptiness. When Mom suggests they spend a few months in California with Aunt Jo, Oakley isn’t sure a change of scenery will alter anything, but she’s willing to give it a try.

In California, Oakley discovers a sort of safety and freedom in Aunt Jo’s beach house. Once they’re settled, Mom hands her a notebook full of letters addressed to her—from Lucas. As Oakley reads one each day, she realizes how much he loved her, and each letter challenges her to be better and to continue to enjoy her life. He wants her to move on.

If only it were that easy.

But then a surfer named Carson comes into her life, and Oakley is blindsided. He makes her feel again. As she lets him in, she is surprised by how much she cares for him, and that’s when things get complicated. How can she fall in love and be happy when Lucas never got the chance to do those very same things?

With her brother’s dying words as guidance, Oakley knows she must learn to listen and trust again. But will she have to leave the past behind to find happiness in the future?"

I probably shouldn't say I enjoyed a book that is about a beloved brother dying of cancer, so I'll just say I was immediately caught up in it. I cared about the characters and felt Oakley's pain and confusion about life going on after you lose a loved one. I thought the way she would try to keep living, and then push people away again was very believable. If your children are wanting to read stories about love and death but you don't want them reading the language and content of a John Green book, or a Gayle Forman book - this is the book to point them towards. There is a sweet romance that doesn't go beyond kissing, there is little to no bad language, and even though the loss of a brother is tragic, it shows a girl learning to live through that experience. There is quite a shocking occurance towards the end of the book that really amps up the excitement level. But all ends as well as could be expected. 
I need more books like this in my middle school library. I will definitely be recommending this to my students.

Areas of concern:
Death of a loved one.
Possible divorce of parents.
A violent accident that involves blood, but is not too graphic.
Sweet romance with some kissing.

Suggested Ages:
School Library Journal - Grades 7-10

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