Prom night doesn't quite go as Lucy Hansson expected. She is wearing her gorgeous dress with its shimmer and she's in the girls' room helping her swim teammates handle their boyfriend betrayal. She has everything under control. Then in a matter of hours and days, her mother's cancer reappears and her boyfriend, the steady and serious Lukas, decides to put their relationship on pause to be sure they know what they're heading toward.
Every summer before now, Lucy has headed up to help her parents at the Christian camp they run for kids. But this year, Lucy's mother urges her to go to the other camp nearby, Daybreak. Lucy will be a junior counselor there is she chooses and she'll be able to walk over to see her mother every Sunday morning and help with the church service. Grudgingly Lucy agrees to work at Daybreak, where the campers are dealing with loss and abuse and other realities no one their age should experience.
Over the first few weeks, Lucy struggles to belong and then slowly finds the honesty and openness of the other counselors gives her a new view of the world and allows her more freedom for her own feelings and values. The other counselors, Anna, Henry, Keely and Mohan, have been friends for years and have established traditions like the Friday night bonfire where they share their high and low moments of the week, s'mores, and a gut level trust of each other that has seen family suicides and transgender choices. Lucy doesn't share her mother's cancer with her friends at first choosing to keep the cancer at bay by giving herself a place where it doesn;t intrude.
Beautifully etched relationships, achingly sad mother daughter relationship, startling truths layer the story. There is a Maintenance Room where the counselors can seek sanctuary and that's where they go when they suffer panic attacks, anxiety, or are trying to handle new feelings for each other.
This is a story of the millions of little moments that bind a mother and a daughter together and this is a story of what happens when you come close to losing that connection. This is also a story about religion and how you have to examine it when you come to a time in your life when you really need something to believe in.
Happiness, trust, loyalty, love and the phenomenal importance of the relationships we have in our lives are the heart and soul of this story. That and finding out that love is real and it stays with you and you are never, ever truly without it. Heartfelt and shimmering.
388 pages 978-1619639584 Ages 14 and up
"Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters-in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend "pauses" their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp-one for troubled kids-Lucy isn't sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?
Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord's storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life's biggest challenges."--from the publisher