This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults. It appears in volume 15.3.
It is refreshing to find a novel with a teenaged protagonist who is not overcome with angst. Claire, in Struck, deals with normal highschool concerns: failing math, an unrequited crush, drama tryouts, catty classmates… When she is apparently struck by lightning while carrying a mysteriously discovered umbrella, she attributes changes in her life to the jolt she received. The author does not actually verify what happened to Claire, but leaves readers to think about the possibility of our unvoiced desires manifesting themselves in reality. “Be careful what you wish for…” springs to Claire’s mind a number of times during the week of the narrative. Ultimately, Claire’s world falls back into place, and we are left with the suggestion that it is not the paranormal that drives changes in our lives, but the power within ourselves.
Ms. Loughead has created story that will resonate with middle school and early highschool students; the emotions are valid and authentic, but not overpowering. The mandate of the Orca Current series is to provide “short high-interest novels with contemporary themes, written expressly for middle-school students reading below grade level” (www.orcabook.com). In Struck, they have achieved this goal admirably.