Summer of L.U.C.K.
INtense Publications, 15 September 2020
Summer of L.U.C.K.

Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin’s been silent since his dad died. Naz is struggling to learn English. But after they meet at Camp Inch, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate — without words. Why? When they sneak into the building to find out, it bursts into a magical carnival, and they’re greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who can’t rest until his property brings joy to children. He asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach Darby, Justin, and Naz how to find their voices. Mr. Usher sweeps them off on a series of adventures where they learn they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to sell the carnival to Camp Inch. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp’s talent show, her budding confidence falters. Can she risk being less than perfect by performing in the show and speaking up to Mr. Usher’s resistant son? If not, she’ll put the carnival in danger and sabotage her most important quest: to believe in herself, stutter and all.


INtense Publications, the Texas-based independent publishing house, has acquired Summer of L.U.C.K., a contemporary middle grade fantasy for ages 8 to 12, by Los Angeles-based writer Laura Segal Stegman. Stegman’s debut novel, the story of three youngsters finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival, will be released on September 15, 2020.

As Darby described the man who’d greeted her at the carnival, Justin’s and Naz’s mouths fell open. “His name is Leroy Usher, Carnival King. Like the letters on the building. L.U.C.K. Get it?”

Naz, white as a sheet, gulped. “But Woody told us Leroy Usher is dead.”

Her face clouded. “If he’s dead,” she said quietly, “who talked to me yesterday?”

“Laura Stegman conjures up a tale of friendship, set in the perfect summer camp (with a nod to the original Parent Trapfilm) that just happens to have a magical carnival next door. It’s a story about coming to terms with loss, change, and finding the confidence to face the difficult challenges of life. Stegman’s debut novel feels like an instant classic.”

Kitty Felde, author of Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza and Book Club for Kids podcast