A town with a summer Shakespeare festival is the setting for Condie’s first middle-grade novel, told through the eyes of a girl who has recently lost her father and eldest brother, a kid with special needs, in a car accident. Mom buys a summer home hoping to mend the family. Cedar and her brother Miles sneak off to watch a soap opera with a buried alive heroine. Leo, a neighbor kid, bicycles by in costume and intrigues Cedar, who gets a job handing out programs at the festival, and falls in with Leo when he comes up with a plan to give unauthorized tours that highlight the life of a now-deceased star of the festival. A gentle dew of mourning permeates the story, which also meditates on what it’s like to be different. There’s a little bit of mystery here, but the family drama and budding friendship take center stage. I also got the feeling that there were autobiographical elements to the story, and while the time period of the story isn’t revealed, it feels like the 1990s. But who cares about what part of the story is real and where it was set? This lovely tale feels completely true to me.— Daniel Goldin
A tender and compelling contemporary novel for young readers about facing loss and finding friendship, from Ally Condie, international bestselling author of the Matched series.
Nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the 2017 Edgar Award
"Kids are awesome. And they are diverse. There are children with different abilities and backgrounds and experiences, and every one of them deserves to find themselves in children's literature and to know that they matter." -Ally Condie, on Summerlost
Sometimes it takes a new friend to bring you home. It's the first real summer since the accident that killed Cedar's father and younger brother, Ben. 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 new novel 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.
"Generous and bittersweet, Summerlost has the emotional acuity of Ms. Condie's writing for older teenagers, but it's pitched just right for readers ages 10-14." -Wall Street Journal
"Funny, sad, sweet, and heartwarming." -Parents.com, Special Needs Now blog
★ "Condie is at her best . . . grabbing readers' interest from the first page." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ "Thoughtful, poetic chapter endings guide readers new to psychological depth toward meaningful connections between plot events and thematic reflections." --BCCB, starred review
"A nuanced portrait of grief deeply grounded in the middle-school mind-set." --Booklist
"Honest, lovely, and sad." --Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Ally Condie is the author of the bestselling novel Atlantia and the critically acclaimed Matched trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. The series has been published in more than 30 languages. A former English teacher, Ally lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar. allycondie.com Twitter: @allycondie