Summerlost by Ally Condie
Age Range: 10 and up | Grade Level: 5 and up | Hardcover: 272 pages | Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (March 29, 2016)
It’s the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are returning to the town of Iron Creek for the summer. They’re just settling into their new house when a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike. Intrigued, Cedar follows him to the renowned Summerlost theatre festival. Soon, she not only has a new friend in Leo and a job working concessions at the festival, she finds herself surrounded by mystery. The mystery of the tragic, too-short life of the Hollywood actress who haunts the halls of Summerlost. And the mystery of the strange gifts that keep appearing for Cedar.
Infused with emotion and rich with understanding, Summerlost is the touching middle grade debut from Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched series, that highlights the strength of family and personal resilience in the face of tragedy.
Find the Book:
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About the Author:
Ally Condie is a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband, three sons and one daughter outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, running, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar.
My Thoughts on Summerlost:
Summerlost is Ally Condie’s first middle grade novel, and it’s a keeper. Cedar moves with her mom and younger brother, Miles, to an older home for the summer to be closer to relatives. Shortly after moving in, Cedar is befriended by Leo, a boy that lives down the street. Cedar and Leo spend a lot of time together that summer, working together at the Summerlost festival and running an early morning tour about an actress that died many years ago.
We find out early in the story that Cedar’s father and brother recently passed away in a car accident. Her family is still trying to recuperate from the shock, loss, and grief. As summer continues, Cedar is able to find ways to heal and remember her loved ones in a healthy way.
Ally Condie has a beautiful way of writing. It’s free of frills and long-winded descriptions. Instead, she weaves an emotional and hopeful story, leaving the interpreting mostly up to the reader. I loved the writing in Summerlost. It was simple and beautiful.
This is a good addition to the world of middle grade literature. It’s about friendship, grief, loss, guilt, and hope.
Content: A few mild words used, but I consider this a clean book.
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