If you are looking for a sweet heartfelt coming of age story then this new middle grade fiction by Ally Condie is a quick read and makes a great read aloud. I read Condie's Young Adult (YA) Matched series, and to be honest it was okay but I didn't love it. However, this new book by Condie was fantastic.
Summerlost by Ally Condie in my book review received 4.5 out of 5 Stars which to be honest is a decent score for this tough grader. This children's literature book is well written with a good story line. Cedar, the main character, shows great growth and realistically heals from the death of her father and brother throughout the story. Plus, the friendship between Cedar and Leo, a secondary character, is so sweet it is hard not to love the fun, their connection and the summer adventures they have.
All in all, I found Summerlost to be an enjoyable read that boys and girls alike in 4th through 7th grade will enjoy. I also feel this book is the perfect summer read, and a very relatable one for upper elementary aged kids. Though, I'm not sure reluctant readers will get into this story; if you have a reluctant reader it would be best to read aloud this book to him or her.
This clean read is a really great book. It didn't wow me, and that is the only reason for the less than perfect score, but I did enjoy it. If you liked Kate DiCamillo's Flora and Ulysses I think you will like this one as well; that correlation is a really big deal b/c I am a huge DiCamillo fan.
Amazon has the following book review from School Library Journal. I feel it gives a decent overview of the story line, and stresses that this is a good book worthy of a checkout or a school library collection addition. .
"A year after the accident that killed Cedar Lee's father and younger brother, her family still feels freshly broken. Her mother moves the remainder of the family out to her hometown of Iron Creek for the summer. Cedar's mom throws herself into fixing up their new house, leaving Cedar and her younger brother Miles to explore the area on their own. Cedar can't shake her grief, especially when small trinkets that remind her of her brother Ben start appearing on her windowsill. Then Cedar notices that a strangely dressed boy rides by her house on his bike at the same time every day. She follows the boy and winds up with a new friend and a job at the Summerlost theater festival. As she dives into an old town mystery with Leo, she feels her heart slowly start to heal. Condie focuses mainly on Cedar's healing. Miles and her mother are present, and their journey through grief is certainly evident, but more care is given to Cedar and the development of her new relationships through the theater program. Leo is a vibrant secondary character, as are some of the other charming folks Cedar meets throughout her stay in Iron Creek. Have this on hand for readers who enjoy a sweet, heartfelt story. VERDICT A first purchase for middle grade collections, particularly where realistic fiction and coming-of-age stories are in demand."
Happy Summer Reading and Coming of Age Dealing with Grief Reading!
As always, I want to hear your thoughts. Have you read it? Are you an Ally Condie fan?