Summerlost by Ally Condie

Ally Condie’s first middle grade book might also be my favorite out of ALL her books to date. Summerlost is a story packed with nostalgia, heart, and gorgeous prose.

Summerlost_BOM.inddIt’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.

Condie’s writing is always beautiful, but the prose is exceptionally stunning in Summerlost. Her writing brings the town of Iron Creek and its iconic Summerlost festival to life across every page. Evocative of childhood and days filled with new adventures, Summerlost filled me up with warm memories of the summers of my youth.

Her story is also quite lovely, as Cedar wraps herself up in solving the mystery of Iron Creek’s most famous resident and helping her friend Leo — while unknowingly working through her own grief over the loss of her father and brother. A complex subject for any audience, Condie especially handles the topic with deft and poise for both her middle grade and (*ahem*) older readers alike.

Summerlost also captures the magic of summers growing up, new (and sure to become lifelong) friendships, and that tentative time between childhood and adolescence. I adored this book and everything about growing up that it managed to capture so elegantly. Condie has written a timeless gem; a true masterpiece with staying power for generations of readers to come.

Look for Summerlost in stores March 29th.

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