Half My Luck

Samera Kamaleddine

Half My Luck
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Half My Luck

Samera Kamaleddine

Layla Karimi has been cursed by the evil eye. Well, that’s what Layla’s superstitious grandmother tells her. And Layla reckons it makes sense as she’s sort of Australian and sort of Lebanese: a ‘halfie’ who doesn’t really fit into either world.

And when all hell breaks loose at the first beach party of the summer, Layla finds herself caught between her friends and the Lebanese kids who call themselves ‘the Cedar Army’ (of which her cousin Sufia is the Queen Bee).

One group has been wrongfully accused and Layla knows the truth that could help clear them. But will she speak up?


Layla considers herself sort of Lebanese, sort of Australian, and is struggling to find where she belongs. When she was a baby, she was cursed by the evil eye. At least, that’s what her grandmother tells her. During an intensely hot summer, at a party at the local river known as ‘Lame Beach’, something goes wrong and the Lebanese kids (including Layla’s cousin Sufia) get wrongfully blamed. Everyone knows what really happened, but no one – including Layla – is willing to come forward with the truth. Should she keep quiet and keep her friends happy or speak up and clear her cousin’s name? Now Layla is starting to believe that she really is cursed.

This was such an enjoyable read. Samera Kamaleddine captures the teenage girl’s voice perfectly with Layla’s caring and sincere narration. Layla’s banter with the other characters was fun to read and there were several moments that had me laughing out loud. There were also some seriously cringey moments that gave me high school flashbacks. My favourite thing was that although there is some romance in the story, the plot isn’t centred around it. It’s refreshing to read a contemporary YA story that focuses more on friendships and family than ‘getting the boy’.

Half My Luck touches on serious themes including racism, family and bullying, but Kamaleddine keeps the overall tone of the book upbeat and entertaining. This is a fantastic debut, and I can’t wait to see what Kamaleddine does next. Readers ages 12+ will have a lot of fun with this book.

Lucie Dess is the marketing assistant at Readings.

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