cover image Summerlost


Ally Condie. Dutton, $17.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-399-18719-3

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. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Mar.)