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
Condie (Matched) strikes a deep emotional chord with this coming-of-age story about 12-year-old Cedar Lee, who has moved to Iron Creek, Utah, for the summer with her mother and younger brother, Miles, as the family struggles to regroup after an accident claimed the lives of Cedar's father and brother Ben. Cedar quickly meets enterprising, offbeat Leo, who gets her a job at Summerlost, the town's yearly Shakespeare festival. As the new friends team up to give (unofficial) walking tours about the life of legendary actress and hometown hero Lisette Chamberlain, they become captivated by the circumstances surrounding the woman's death. Condie is at her best in this foray into middle grade fiction, grabbing readers' interest from the first page while creating memorable characters struggling through deep emotional pain. The thread of Lisette's mystery is intriguing in itself, but Leo and Cedar's unlikely friendship steals the show. Their adventures, set against the quirky backdrop of a community of personality-rich theater creators, make for a summer with plenty of good to remember along with the bad. Ages 10 up.