Ally Condie

“It’s been a year since the devastating car accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now Cedar and what’s left of her family are spending the summer in her mother’s hometown of Iron Creek and trying to mend their broken pieces. Memories surround Cedar, including strange gifts that begin to appear in the night–the type of small household items her brother Ben used to collect. Until one day a boy named Leo, dressed in costume, rides by on his bike, and everything about Cedar’s summer changes. Soon, Cedar not only has a job working at the renowned Summerlost theater festival, but also a growing friendship with Leo that will blossom as they piece together clues about the short and tragic life of one of Iron Creek’s most famous residents. Emotionally resonant and rich with understanding, Summerlost is the touching middle grade debut from Ally Condie, the international bestselling author of the Matched series, that explores the strength of family and the transformative power of friendship in the face of tragedy.” 
My Review:
I liked Ally Condie’s Matched series, so when I saw this book on the shelf at the library I was excited to read it. The characters in this book are very well written, and I fell in love with them. Cedar and Leo are both children, yet they are quite mature for their ages. Cedar has already experienced tragedy in her life, and Leo has a very grown-up goal that he’s working towards. They work together well, and I felt like I was the third person in their little group. Cedar’s mom and Leo’s family are supporting characters, but they added a lot, along with the other employees at the festival. I definitely got caught up in this story. I thought it flowed well, it was well written, the characters were well developed, and the story line was engaging. It was fun to read a story that didn’t include fantasy characters or lots of action; it’s just a fun book about two children and their summer friendship. They weren’t perfect, for sure, but that’s what made it so realistic. Both of them tried hard, made mistakes, and tried to right their wrongs. It was fun to watch them grow over the course of the book, and to see how a good friend can mean the world to someone. I enjoyed this book a lot and I definitely recommend it.
Rating: PG (There isn’t any profanity, intimacy, or violence in this book. There may be a bully or two, but nothing overly graphic.)
Recommendation: 4th grade and up (It’s a great middle-grader read!)

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