Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Cedar's family is still struggling with grief after the car accident that killed her father and brother a year ago.  On a whim, Cedar's mother buys a house in the small college town where she grew up.  The family will live there in the summer and rent it out to college students during the year.  While her mother devotes herself to fixing up the house, Cedar is left on her own to think about the turn her life has taken.

One day she sees a boy riding his bike down the street dressed in strange clothes.  He does this every day, and Cedar eventually decides to follow him.  The boy, who turns out to be Leo, is heading to his job at the summer Shakespeare festival associated with the college.  The two kids strike up a quick friendship, and before she knows what's happening, Cedar has a job at the festival, too.

As their friendship develops, Cedar contemplates her brother.  Ben was autistic and difficult to know which complicates Cedar's feelings about his death.

A secondary plot about a famous actress who died at the festival years ago gives Cedar and the reader more room to think about the nature of loss.

One of the best things about this book is the friendship between Leo and Cedar.  It is realistic, natural, necessary, and happily, escapes turning into puppy love.  Toward the end of the book, each refers to the other as "my person."

This book is something completely different for Ally Condie, and I hope she writes more in this vein.  Summerlost is a beautifully written story about friendship and grief set against a Shakespearean backdrop.

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