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 summer camp, mysterious calliope music from an abandoned warehouse grants them power to communicate without words. When they sneak inside, the dark, empty space bursts into a magical carnival. They’re greeted by the ghost of Leroy Usher, who asks for their help convincing his family to restore the carnival to its former glory. In return, he promises to teach the kids how to find their voices.

As Darby, Justin, and Naz are swept off on a series of midnight adventures via Mr. Usher’s carnival rides, they discover they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. With each challenge, their confidence in communicating – and in themselves – grows. Meanwhile, they scheme to persuade the Usher family to revive the carnival. But when Darby’s bunkmates trick her into starring in the camp 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 Trap film) 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


“A charming story about family, friendships, and heartwarming reconciliations.”

Colette Sewall, author of Kiki MacAdoo and the Graveyard Ballerinas


“Imaginative and emotionally true.”

Lynne Heffley, children’s media critic, writer, editor


“Summer of L.U.C.K. is a coming-of-age story with a bewitching twist! Three campers with a curious connection stumble into an otherworldly adventure—and soon learn that to save the day they’ll have to step out of their comfort zones. Relatable characters and offbeat situations will keep young readers turning the page.”

Brenda Scott Royce, author of Chance’s Choice and One Wordy Bird


“Middle grade students will love this delightful multi-layer story of friendship and family, summer camp life and magical adventures.”

Cheryl Schuermann, author of A Boy Called Preacher


“Summer of L.U.C.K.’s successful blend of friendship, adventure, mystery, and fantasy are the qualities of a winning book for eight- to twelve-year-olds.”

Beth Miller, Los Angeles Unified School District Reading Specialist


“Laura Stegman captures the voice and heart of adolescence and the struggle to beat the odds and fit in. The bond of friendship that overcomes obstacles is a joy to read beginning to end.”

Michele Hennessy, kids entertainment producer and executive