|Lightning Chase Me Home by Amber Lee Dodd|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A magical and mysterious adventure, far away on a small Scottish island that manages to do both real life and fantasy very well.|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 300||Date: January 2019|
|External links: Author's website|
Named after two famous female explorers, Amelia Hester McLeod loves to listen to stories of exciting adventures, but when it comes to being brave herself she finds it very difficult. She lives on a small Scottish island with her dad and her grandad, and spends her time daydreaming about where her adventurous mother might be off exploring. When her mum had lived with them, she had home-schooled Amelia, and her dad and grandad tried to continue that for a while. But now her dad has decided it's time for Amelia to go to school on the mainland. Amelia is afraid - afraid of having to make new friends, afraid of being picked on because of her problems with reading, and afraid of what's happening to her since she went and made a wish on a mysterious rock in the sea…
This is a magical adventure story that has a good mixture of fantasy and real life. Amelia is an interesting character, and as a reader you care about what will happen to her and whether she'll be able to figure her way through all the difficult things she's experiencing. I also really liked the boy she starts to tentatively make friends with at school, as he's a real chatterbox, but also a good friend. The mysterious aspects of the story work well, too, of what on earth has happened to Amelia's mum. I guessed wrong, about what was going on, so it was interesting to see how that side of the story played out. It was well done, and the journey of Amelia's relationship with her dad was a really good read.
The magical fantasy aspects of the story also worked well, and I could picture the island, the seashore, and the mysterious disappearing rock very well. I liked the sense of danger that came up every time Amelia disappeared, and how it was tied to her longing to see her mum again and yet, at the same time, was affecting everyone she cared about on the island too. There were interesting snippets of information, through the story too, about different female explorers that might prompt some children to investigate further and read more about them.
I did, however, feel frustrated that Amelia's problems with reading are never really explained. I would guess that she's dyslexic, but I don't think that was actually said anywhere in the book, so you just get Amelia's internal fears that she is stupid, without any real discussion of how it's just a problem with how her brain interprets words, and that there are different tactics and methods she can use to help. She does have a teacher who talks to her about using different coloured papers, but it's not really explained, and instead, when she finally gets to read out loud in front of the class, I felt there was a real lost opportunity for Amelia to have worked hard at learning new techniques, and managing to read aloud, and instead she is joined on stage by other people who help her retell her story. So whilst you can see that she's become more a part of island life, and has made friends, it lessened her own internal journal to have needed them there to help her, rather than just having them there as background support. Still, that was the only thing that bothered me with the story, and it's a grown-up sort of bothering, so I'm sure children reading the book will just love the story for what it is - a good adventure!
You can read more book reviews or buy Lightning Chase Me Home by Amber Lee Dodd at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lightning Chase Me Home by Amber Lee Dodd at Amazon.com.
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