The Lightning Circle

The Lightning Circle
Age Range
Release Date
March 26, 2024
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After having her heart broken, seventeen-year-old Nora Nichols decides to escape her hometown and take a summer job as an arts and crafts counsellor at an all-girls' camp in the mountains of West Virginia. There, she meets girls and women from all walks of life with their own heartaches and triumphs. Immersed in this new camp experience, trying to form bonds with her fellow counselors while learning to be a trusted adviser for her campers, Nora distracts herself from her feelings, even during the intimate conversations around the nightly campfires. But when a letter from home comes bearing unexpected news, Nora finds inner strength in her devastation with the healing power of female friendship. Presented as Nora's camp journal, including Nora's sketches of camp life, scraps of letters, and spare poems, The Lightning Circle is an intimate coming-of-age portrait.

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1 review
A Unique Coming-of-Age Portrait.
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The Lightning Circle is a book I was drawn to for its unique concept and presentation. It is both a novel in verse and a poetry collection, presented as Nora's camp journal, and I found myself enjoying this fresh perspective in a young adult novel.

This is a quick and delightful read for lovers of poetry, art, and summer camp alike. I have read very few novels set at a summer camp, and I was not disappointed with this one. The lyrical writing paired with exceptional illustrations from the talented Laura K. Watson immerses you in the setting.

I loved all of the girls and women in this book. Their different personalities and backgrounds made each character unique and distinctive, and it was clear that there was some influence from the author's own camp experience. Nora is a strong and encouraging female character, and watching her heal from her first heartbreak and grow both as a camp counselor and a person was heartwarming.

I was confused at the beginning of the book about what happened to Nora that led her to escape her hometown by fleeing to work at an all-girls summer camp, but it did help to build suspense, and it kept me interested and excited to turn the pages.

This tender and personal coming-of-age novel beautifully portrays the devastation of first heartbreak and the importance of forging long-lasting female friendships. I enjoyed every moment of watching Nora's story unfold, and this is a book I will be recommending to all of the young women in my life.
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