Samera Kamaleddine, Half My Luck, HarperCollins Publishers, July 2021, 272 pp., RRP $17.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781460760222
With an absent Lebanese dad, and a white Australian mum, 16-year-old Layla feels like she doesn’t fit in either world. Her superstitious grandmother claims she’s been cursed by ‘the evil eye’, which makes sense to Layla as she seems to have the worst luck.
As temperatures break records that summer, the tension between the white and Lebanese kids reaches boiling point.
At the first beach party of the summer things get out of hand and someone gets seriously hurt. When one group is wrongfully accused, Layla finds herself caught between her friends and cousins. She knows the truth, but does she have the courage to tell it?
Throughout the story Layla learns the value of honesty and family, and that maybe she isn’t so unlucky after all. It was satisfying watching her perspective and attitude shift. Racism, corruption, and privilege play a large role, along with elements of romance, mystery, and plenty of drama.
Half My Luck by Samera Kamaleddine is a fun Australian teen novel that tells a story of identity, privilege, and prejudice. I would recommend it to 12-14 year-olds who like a little drama.
Reviewed by Libby Boas