#20BooksOfSummer 5: Lightning Chase me Home – Amber Lee Dodd

#20BooksOfSummer is an annual event hosted by Cathy Brown of 746 Books and runs from 3rd June until 3rd September With the aim to clearing a target of 5, 10 or 20 books from your TBR but with very relaxed and fun rules.

Here is my joining post & List!

Book cover for Lightning Chase me Home
Cover design by Kate Forrester

Amber Lee Dodd is back with a Scottish tale of Earthy magic, inspirational female explorers and coming of age amongst learning difficulties and anger.

This tale was especially touching and certainly from the heart regarding Amelia’s learning issues as such needs in girls are often overlooked or misinterpreted.

Amelia didn’t expect to be on her dad’s boat on the morning of her eleventh birthday nor dangled over the side to touch the Serpent’s Tooth to make the a wish like every islander traditionally makes- she wishes for her mum back.

She especially didn’t expect the rock to be magical and strange things begin to happen including waking up on the rocks, vanishing into thin air and a storm of all storms blooming over the next few months as she struggles to come to terms with going to school and her grandfather’s increasing dementia.

Scottish
Wishes
Mythology
Reading
Loneliness

Amelia’s learning difficulties are a personal one for Amber Lee Dodd who has written about her dyslexia before and how it made her feel being in special classes and seeming behind the rest of her peers. For many children dyslexia is diagnosed later than it could be for various reasons but some reason learning difficulties in girls are even more likely to be underestimated or missed.

Amelia’s shame and frustration at the words wiggling on the page and the struggles to read aloud are clearly based on experience. I could weep for Amelia when she berates herself for having to read out loud and not being able to read in her head even things she knows by heart like her book of explorers and as a teacher who taught several ‘low set’ classes I recognised the attitudes from Blair towards the rest of the class to put others down before they have the chance to make her feel weak for her struggles. The misery and frustration is palpable and I just want to cuddle Amelia and tell her it’s going to be ok- but her walls are too high.

After Mum left I put all the things I didn’t want to think about into a box in my head. But the problem with this is sooner or later the box gets so full up that all the scary and nasty thoughts come pouring out.

The setting is just so beautifully evocative, the salt spray, the winds and the grey skies of winter to the bitter cold and snow. Everything is beautifully rendered you almost feel you are there on Dark Muir or Stony Isle and Bridlebaine Academy with its castle origins.
The magic itself is beautifully earthy and dangerous, the kind that has a price and that is the wish or the island.

The friendship building between Amelia and Tom is in ebbs and waves much like the sea and mirrors her struggle with the disintegration of her home in the wake of her mother leaving, grandmother dying and grandfather descending into dementia.

This tale really is of bravery and opening your eyes to the truth of what you have and need not necessarily what you want. Utterly beautiful and I look forward to reading more from Amber Lee Dodd.

Lightning Chase Me Home by Amber Lee Dodd is published by Scholastic

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5 thoughts on “#20BooksOfSummer 5: Lightning Chase me Home – Amber Lee Dodd

    1. Not sure, it’s pretty upsetting with the fact her mum has just upped and left 2 yrs previous and not spoken to her in over a year, her dad’s working 3 jobs to keep them afloat, her Grandad’s coming up with interesting ways to pop his clogs and she can’t read or write very well and so is bullied at school. But she can find purpose and companionship and place- if she’s brave enough.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. At least it would be one to have in the recommendations for Scottish mythology, for children with learning difficulties etc whether or not you get through it or not!!

      Liked by 1 person

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