Listening for Lucca

Note: This is a review I wrote in 2013 and for some reason didn’t publish. Apparently, I also didn’t write a review of Eight Keys – or at least I can’t find one.

Last year, my children and I listened to the audiobook of Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur – a beautifully written book about a young girl getting to know her parents, who died when she was young.

That prompted me to pick up Listening for Lucca, LaFleur’s latest book. I have to admit – I didn’t like it at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love LaFleur’s writing style. She has a way of expressing pain and emotion that invites readers to understand and experience life with her characters. Listening for Lucca is no exception.

Siena has strange visions. She sometimes sees a city street as it appeared 100 years ago, and sometimes sees people who aren’t really there.

She and her family move from New York City to Maine, to a house she had dreamed about many times while she slept. Her mother is convinced that this move will help Siena’s little brother, Lucca, to talk. Although he is 4, he doesn’t talk to anyone.

Siena finds a strange pen, and feels the urge to write with it. Out flows a story – a real story – about the girl who lived in that house during World War II. As Siena gets lost in Sarah’s story, she wonders if Sarah’s story holds the key to helping Lucca decide to talk.

As I was reading this book, I felt uncomfortable with Siena’s visions. I felt more uncomfortable with Siena’s writing Sarah’s story – as if she were in a trance. Towards the end of the book, Siena is able to inhabit Sarah’s body (while both are sleeping), and use Sarah’s body to help her brother and change the course of their family’s story. This incident was too strange for me. I’m all for a strong imagination, but for me, this was crossing into the occult.

I do not recommend this book at all.

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