by Ally Condie
AR Level 4.1, 6 points
Summerlost appeared on my radar when Ally Condie started appearing in the book orders. She has another series in the young adult genre, and she was at the Book Fest signing books, but I’d never read any of her books, so I didn’t stand in the long line of waiting fans. This particular book also appears on some of the Mock Newbery lists, so I thought I should give it a try.
Cedar Lee is 12 years old, and she moves to the town her mother grew up in, but just for the summer. She is mourning the deaths of her dad and brother while her mom builds a deck on the new house and her other brother tries to get her attention. Cedar immediately notices Leo, a boy in her neighborhood who she learns works for the local Shakespeare festival, Summerlost. He is not an actor, but sells refreshments to visitors, although he is very interested in theater. Cedar and Leo embark on a a summer of friendship, mystery, and entrepreneurship as they give tours and talk about a deceased actress who started in their small town. Cedar finds herself struggling with her family’s tragedy while dealing with the ups and downs of being 12.
What I liked about this book was the detailed descriptions. It was almost as though Ally Condie herself lived in a house with a diamond window or a tree with vultures nesting in it. It also touches on some important life events that I think most books don’t talk about- the death of a loved one, and coming to terms with loss.
What I didn’t like about this book was not necessarily the book’s fault. I thought this was a young adult book, so I didn’t buy a hard copy for my class library. It is on the border of being a children’s book and young adult, so I can see why the line would be blurred, but it’s only written at a 4.1 and there is nothing touchy about it that might make it inappropriate for a sixth grader. I regret not looking into it more than I did, but then again, it’s still hardcover, and I don’t think it is worth $16 like other hardcover books I’ve purchased in the past.
Book 5 of 10 (summer goal)