Summer of L.U.C.K.
Summer of L.U.C.K.

Many of you know that my journey as a kids book writer has been long and winding, and that my original Summer of L.U.C.K. publisher shut down in 2021. If you’ve been following closely, though, you also know that I signed with a new publisher shortly thereafter, and THE NEW JOURNEY HAS BEGUN!

Young Dragons Press’ re-issue of Summer of L.U.C.K.
— with a new cover, chapter art, and a camp map —
is now available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.
Order an autographed copy (personalized too!)
from Children’s Book World!
Also available at
IndieBound, Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play,
and wherever else books are sold.





Summer of L.U.C.K. Media Coverage and Publicity


Three struggling kids stumble upon a magical carnival that’s about to change their world

Stuttering Darby is never perfect enough for her mother. Justin’s been silent since his dad died. Naz is trying 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. You’re invited to add Summer of L.U.C.K. to your GOODREADS books to read!


Summer of L.U.C.K., a contemporary middle grade fantasy for ages 8 to 12, is Laura Segal Stegman’s debut novel. It’s the story of three youngsters finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival.

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?”

“Summer of L.U.C.K. is a tale that incorporates not only topics that young pre-teens find so exciting – magic, carnivals, friendship, and fun – but also manages to thread the exciting plotline with pearls of wisdom about life, bullying, self-worth, and self-esteem, and that’s what lifts this book above others in its genre.”

— Readers’ Favorite


“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, Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza and Book Club for Kids Podcast


“Middle grade readers… will relish this… compelling read. Highly recommended reading that stands out from the crowd.”

Midwest Book Review


A magical middle-grade adventure about the power of self-acceptance…  a fun-filled read sprinkled with whimsy, humor, and heart.”

Pine Reads Review


“A whimsical journey you won’t soon forget.”

The Hope Prose Podcast


“I was instantly captivated and couldn’t put it down.”

Macaroni Kid


I loved so much about this book, from the multiple points of views, from diverse characters with varying communication challenges to the whimsical and magical story set within the perfect summer camp setting. I can’t wait to share this story with my girls.”

Tara K. Ross, author, Fade to White


“Summer of L.U.C.K. is as much for adults as it is for tweens and young teens… the life lessons are so worthwhile.”

Karen Salkin for ItsNotAboutMe.TV e-zine


“Imaginative and emotionally true.”

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


Beautifully-written… Laura Stegman weaves all of this into a classic, middle grade mystery with twists and turns and enough clever magic to keep you turning those pages more quickly than you ever thought possible.”

— Frank Morelli, author, Please Return To middle grade series


“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, 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, A Boy Called Preacher


“The story is engaging and the characters are wonderful… important themes related to courage, self-acceptance, and friendship.”

— Literacy On The Mind


“A sweet, uplifting story… The diverse and non-cliquey friendships were wonderful.”

— Kristiana Sfirlea, author, Legend of the Storm Sneezer


Anyone who loved summer camp or wishes they could have attended one should check out Summer of L.U.C.K. I would have loved to have read it in middle school and will be recommending to other people I know who also stutter. There’s nothing like meeting a character who has similar challenges.”

— Long and Short Reviews


Enchanting story… engaging… a lot of heart.”

— Roslyn Muir, author, The Chimera’s Apprentice


“A mix of magic and delight… a great read not just for children, but for adults too.”

Red Pillows Reviews


Heartfelt and engaging.”

Always in the Middle


My favorite fictional character ever [Leroy Usher, Carnival King]… a great debut novel… I really loved it. You should watch out for Laura Stegman’s next couple of books.”

— Meep Reads YouTube Channel (Gianni, 8th grader)


“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


Fun and engaging.”

Teachers Who Read


“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


I love this book, and I know middle grade students will absolutely.”

— Neary Notes


“Whimsical and full of heart.”

Alyssa Roat, author, Dear Hero


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

Colette Sewall, author, Kiki MacAdoo and the Graveyard Ballerinas


You cannot help but fall in love with the characters…I absolutely love the themes of restoration and courage. I can’t wait to see what else the author comes up with next!”

Hope Bolinger, author, Blaze, Den, Unmasked, Dear Hero


“I really enjoyed that this story teaches kids to embrace themselves and their differences.”

Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile


“Laura Segal Stegman does an amazing job making you immediately care about her characters in this fun summer camp story.”

Stephenie Wilson Peterson, author, Grace’s Ghosts




A wonderful story… engaging… the characters are vivid.”

— R. M. Clark, prolific author, middle grade and other books