Book title: Summerlost
Author: Ally Condie
Pub date: 2016
Reviewer: Terresa Wellborn
Summerlost is the first Ally Condie book I’ve read and it’s beautiful. A great fit for middle schoolers ages 11-13 and up, it would be a perfect summertime or anytime read. Condie, known for the dystopian world of the Matched trilogy, has now placed herself firmly in the shoes of the twelve-year-old world of Cedar Lee. Complete with Shakespearean Festival antics, mysterious gifts, and a dead actress, it’s a world worth visiting.
I’m a fan girl of Condie’s writing: she walks the line of succinct and poetic, a feat not all authors can accomplish. She starts the story with high stakes, Cedar’s dad and brother are already gone. It is through this grief and ensuing choices that Cedar (and ultimately us, the reader), learn lessons of the heart. I was surprised at the element of mystery in the novel but it works well, pulling the reader through the pages. The themes of the book touch on loss, family life, and coming of age. Condie ties together the different plot threads nicely, making this book a keeper and a gem: we grow through the experience of reading it.