Amelia lives on a tiny Scottish island with her dad and granddad, was homeschooled but now has to start at a secondary school and cope with her dyslexia. Yet, all she wants is for her mum to come home.
I was immediately drawn into this adventure story and had empathy for Amelia. The realistic descriptions of island life and the harsh weather conditions are convincing. Often I felt windswept at the end of a paragraph.
The fantasy element of teleporting like a modern-day Dorothy should have been difficult to weave into a realistic storyline concerned with real-life issues like dyslexia and bullying. Yet, Amber Lee Dodd pulls it off – spectacularly. I also revelled in the mini-biographies of female adventurers from the past, which reinforced the theme of bravery and resilience. The format of the novel was refreshing as well; letters and bullet points were interspersed, breaking up the text.
This, at times, heartbreaking story of coming to terms with a family break up is a real page-turner. The theme of fearlessness and the use of Scottish mythology make it a much more complex narrative than the author’s excellent debut We Are Giants. It also has a powerfully cinematic edge to it.
Lightning Take Me Home would make an excellent class novel to read aloud, or as a Guided Reading text. I would also have a copy in the library to recommend to children in upper juniors who might enjoy the genre or the issues tackled. In some ways, it is a brilliant companion text to Kate Scott’s Just Jack as both look sensitively at the problems of starting at a new school and trying to fit in.
You can listen to our In the Reading Corner podcast with Amber here.
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