Chad Lucas has been in love with words since he attempted his first novel on a typewriter in the sixth grade. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, communications advisor, freelance writer, journalism instructor, and parenting columnist. A proud descendant of the historic African Nova Scotian community of Lucasville, he lives with his family in Nova Scotia. He enjoys coaching basketball and is rarely far from a cup of tea. His debut middle grade novel THANKS A LOT, UNIVERSE was published by Amulet Books/Abrams Kids in 2021, and his second, LET THE MONSTER OUT, will follow in 2022.
Thanks a Lot, Universe
Brian has always been anxious, whether at home or in class or on the basketball court. His dad tries to get him to stand up for himself, and his mom helps as much as she can, but after he and his brother are placed in foster care, Brian starts having panic attacks. And he doesn’t know if things will ever be “normal” again…
Ezra’s always been popular. He’s friends with most of the kids on his basketball team—even Brian, who usually keeps to himself. But now, some of his friends have been acting differently, and Brian seems to be pulling away. Ezra wants to help, but he worries if he’s too nice to Brian, his friends will realize he has a crush on him…
But when Brian and his brother run away, Ezra has no choice but to take the leap and reach out. Both boys have to decide if they’re willing to risk sharing parts of themselves they’d rather hide. But if they can be brave, they might just find the best in themselves—and in each other.
Let the Monster Out
Bones Malone feels like he can’t do anything right in his new small town: He almost punched the son of the woman who babysits him and his brothers, he’s one of the only Black kids in Langille, and now his baseball team (the one place where he really feels like he shines) just lost their first game. To make matters worse, things in town are getting weird. His mom isn’t acting like herself at all—she’s totally spaced out, almost like a zombie. And then he and his brothers have the same dream—one where they’re running from some of their deepest fears, like a bear and an eerie cracked mirror that Bones would rather soon forget.
Kyle Specks feels like he can never say the right thing at the right time. He thinks he might be neurodivergent, but he hasn’t gotten an official diagnosis yet. His parents worry that the world might be too hard for him and try to protect him, but Kyle knows they can’t do that forever. Even though he’s scared, he can’t just stand by and do nothing while things in this town get stranger and stranger, especially not after he and Bones find a mysterious scientist’s journal that might hold answers about what’s going on.
But when faced with seemingly impossible situations, a shady corporation, and their own worst nightmares, will Kyle and Bones be brave enough to admit they're scared? Or will the fear totally consume and control them?
You Owe Me One, Universe
Brian and Ezra's story continues in the moving sequel to Thanks a Lot, Universe, which New York Times bestselling author Nic Stone called "a glorious ode to the beauty of preteen friendship"
Brian knows that anxiety and depression aren't things that are magically fixed overnight, but he still doesn't understand why it's all hitting him so hard right now. Sure, his dad is still in prison and middle school is still stressful, but he's seeing a therapist, he's got good friends, and he's doing really well on the basketball team. He should be fine, so why does he feel too tired to get out of bed some days? And why does he turn into "Cursed Monster Brian" and snap whenever someone asks him what's wrong?
Ezra is trying his best to look out for Brian, but he's not sure that he's actually helping. Sure, they're still best friends, but as Ezra starts preparing for the talent show, he also starts talking with Victor--the kid who relentlessly bullied Brian last year. It seems like Victor's changed, and whenever he and Ezra hang out and make music together, Ezra's stomach feels a little bit swoopy. But even if he likes making music and talking with Victor, he still feels like he's betraying his best friend whenever they hang out. And he worries that he's falling for another boy who won't return his feelings . . .
Earnest, heartfelt, and full of humor, You Owe Me One, Universe explores the nuances and complications of middle school relationships--and shows how sometimes the smallest acts of caring can be the ones that matter most.