Author: Suyi Davies
Published: July 26, 2022
Summary: The thrilling adventure of Stranger Things continues where season three left off, with fan favorite Lucas Sinclair finally telling his own story in his own words.
Lucas has been in the fight against the evil forces in his town since the beginning, but he is tired of feeling like an outsider. When the start of high school presents Lucas with options beyond D&D and being bullied, he wonders if he can be more than invisible. After connecting with one of the few other Black students at school, Lucas starts to learn more about himself apart from his friend group. And he begins to understand himself as a Black teen in Hawkins, which feels unlike anything—in this world or any other—he’s ever experienced.
Honestly, I wonder if the writer’s room for Stranger Things has any people of color, or any black people, because Lucas really does get paid dust. Season 4 was really great for him, but not enough so I hope that S5 does better by him AND Erica. I also want to see more of their parents.
Lucas’s voice. I think Suyi Davies does a really good job with Lucas’ voice. As soon as I started the book, I immediately checked to see if he was a black man because I think that’s important and part of the reason why I think Lucas suffers on the show. But I think he does a great job with Lucas’ inner conflicts when it comes to his friends and how he feels caught between two worlds. His thoughts when it comes to Max and his thoughts when it comes to racism and being Black in this small town. It felt like he understood the character and understands his conflicts.
The Story. It’s quite basic to be honest, but it has a lot of nuance. Everyone is affected after the events of S3, Max is sad and depressed about her family life falling apart, how Mike is sad about El (and Will) leaving and Dustin is Dustin lol and Lucas is trying to figure himself out, figure out how to be there for Max and navigate high school. The book basically covers his first day up to the “Dear Billy” episode. But on the first day, Lucas is paired up with an upperclassman named Jermaine aka Jay, who Lucas thinks is so cool, he’s on the basketball team and he sits in his Blackness a way that Lucas hasn’t seen. He begins to see himself and his life differently, and he learns things that he might not have learned from his parents and things his friends wouldn’t understand because of course they wouldn’t. I like that Lucas finds another friend he can relate to who helps him in a different way. I liked that he and Robin actually bonded when I don’t recall them actually interacting in the show alone. I like that it basically is Lucas dealing with his identity and seeing how even though he may not have really looked at himself as being different… he is.
Family Dynamics. Some of my favorite moments are a couple of moments with Lucas and his family. There is a part where he’s with Mike, Dustin and Erica and he gets called an “Oreo” and of course Mike and Dustin don’t know what that means, I did as a black person and so did Lucas and Erica. The way Erica reacted to it and the way she and Lucas shared an unspoken dialogue about it, and how she reacted to it after in solidarity. I definitely want more interactions of them in the next season. As for his parents, it was definitely interesting seeing his dad’s reaction to certain things and how he thinks about being Black and how he doesn’t want his kids to have to “survive” but “live” and I think that’s legit but how they handle teaching their kids or allowing them to know, is not something I can get behind but
The Ending. Okay, so there’s two endings. There’s a part before the championship game that I think would have been such a great ending but then the book keeps going and it actually goes through S4 up to the point where Max levitates and is saved by Kate Bush. It ends with her being held by Lucas and the “I’m here”, part which is a good ending but I think because we already got that in the show, it would have better, I think to end the book with Lucas getting ready for the game.
On my ride back, I’m less nervous, maybe even determine. To show them. To show everyone that I contain multitudes, that there’s more to the new Black kid on the team, and not just because Coach thinks any Black kid has to be on the team. I’m also the Black kid who loves horror movies and Karate Kid and “satanic” D&D; who is Hawkins through and through — born, bred, bled for; who cares about his ex-girlfriend who lives in a trailer park; who has fought monsters three times and saved a town that doesn’t even acknowledge he’s there. No more hiding, no more apologizing, no more wanting for some other time to be myself. The time is now, and I’mr easy, wholly and unashamedly. I’m ready to live in the moment. I pedal fast back to the gym, only one thought on my mind: The real Lucas is coming, and Hawkins had better get ready.
This was such a good ending that when the book kept going, I was a little upset. I would have ended it here because we have the show. It’s nice in ways to get Lucas’s thoughts during the actual show, and it really just shows how the writers have paid Lucas dust, but I don’t like when there are true endings and then the actual endings.
Continuity Issues. So a big thing I noticed and I know this book was written before the show aired but someone should have talked to someone because in the book, he has the events of Spring Break happening in April when he know it happened in March in the show. So, that was very noticeable. This book came out after the show, so I would assume anyone who reads it, is most likely a fan of the show. I was also unsure if it was true that Mike and Dustin never went to any of his games because I was under the impression that this was the first time that the game landed on the same night as Hellfire, considering how in shock Mike and Dustin were. Not to mention, it seemed that Lucas had been a part of the club for a while, he was in a club photo. But I guess since it wasn’t explicitly stated, there’s wiggle room there.
Character Chemistry/Some Voices. This mostly pertains to Lucas being involved with some of the others, I know this is an author’s interpretation, but you fall into an issue when you have the other characters involved and there are times where I don’t think he quite captures the other characters we know from the show. Particularly in Dustin and Mike but it’s only a few times since they’re not heavily featured.
Point of View. This is a little nit-picky but I wish this was told in third person (limited) instead of first person. I don’t particularly have a reason why other than I feel like it would have been better lol
Overall, I think is a good spin off story that focus on Lucas. If anything, it really just makes you realize how much the show drops the ball with him, which is a shame because Caleb McLaughlin is an amazing actor. But the story was handled well and while to some people, it might feel a little “political” or “in your face”, I think it tracks for this black teen living in a small town in the 80s. I like how the writer tackled Lucas and I felt he really captured his voice. I also really loved the family dynamic of the Sinclairs. I have a few issues, mainly with how the book ends, I feel like it should have ended earlier. I also think the author doesn’t do as well with some of the other characters in capturing their voices and I with the POV was in third person but that’s a small nitpick. If you are a fan of Stranger Things and wish Lucas got more development, check out this quick read!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
Check out “Lucas on the Line”! I haven’t read the other ones yet but since I liked this one, I’ll give Max’s book a try.
Who is your favorite Stranger Things character? Favorite season? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!