Book Review: Summerlost

July 5, 2016

Ally Condie
272 pages
hard copy edition

From the Publisher:

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.

“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.


After reading the Matched series, I found myself a big Ally Condie fan and couldn’t wait to read more of her writing.  But sadly, Atlantia just didn’t hit the spot for me and I was really disappointed. So when I saw she had a new book coming out this spring I was curious. Life has been crazy Summerlost has been sitting in my TBR pile for a couple months and I finally got around to reading it in June.

Summerlost is a competently different feel than Condie’s other books.  There is no comparison at all.  And I really don’t mind that.  I really enjoyed this book!  But if you are expecting Matched – this isn’t it.  It’s just different than her other ones, and I think that is made pretty clear, even from the cover of the book.

This book is a beautiful story about a girl named Cedar and her experiences in a small town that her mom moves the family to after losing her dad and brother in a tragic car accident.  Cedar quickly makes friends with a boy named Leo and they become best friends.  I love the characters in this book.  Leo is such a good friend.  The festival where they work, and the characters involved in it are fun and enjoyable.  The book is based loosely off a festival that we have here in Utah – and it was fun reading this book and seeing the real setting in my mind.  I love the little mystery involved in the plot line too.  Despite some hard situations and topics, the book was light to read and had me laughing out loud and I found it a really pleasant read.

It is geared towards middle grade, and I think hits the mark.  I think especially girls age 10-15 would enjoy this book.  I think my kids would like it and I think adults could learn from it as well.

Some read a likes for this book would be: A War That Saved My Life, One for the Murpheys, Out of My Mind, The Running Dream, and any book by Joan Bauer,

In the end, I totally loved this book.  Ally Condie just keeps surprising me.  This book is so different than Matched!I like finding an author I enjoy that writes different genres well. I can’t wait to see what she direction she goes next.

Final Score:

5 stars

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