Summerlost

summerlostby Allie Condie
First sentence: “Our new house had a blue door.”
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Review copy provided by the publisher.
Content: There’s a lot of talk of death, but nothing too sad. It’ll be in the middle grade (grades 3-5) section of the bookstore.

Cedar Lee didn’t expect much from her summer visiting her grandparents in Iron Creek. Her dad and brother died in a freak accident the hear before, and the rest of the family has been just barely managing. Then Cedar’s mother finds a house in Iron Creek and purchases it as a summer home, not something they can afford, but perhaps something that will help with healing.

Cedar’s not happy about it; she misses her dad and her brother, and doesn’t really want to move on. But between the new house, a summer taking care of her other brother, Miles, and her new friend, Leo, maybe she can heal.

This is a really difficult book to summarize, mostly because not much happens. It’s an incredibly introspective story, driven by characters — most notably the friendship (and just that, nothing more) between Leo and Cedar — rather than by plot. But it’s a lovely look at friendship and healing and enjoying the simpler things of life. There’s also is a love of Shakespeare and acting that weaves through the story which helps tie the whole story together.

An interesting aside: this is a very Mormon book. Oh, Condie does a lot to disguise it, but it’s really the Shakespeare festival in Utah (to which I’ve never been). And it — at least to a Mormon — just feels Mormon. But, that said, it’s something I noticed because I was tuned into the clues. And it’s not something I minded at all.

In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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