Book: Summerlost (2016)
Author: Ally Condie
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Basic plot: Cedar Lee joins the crew at the town’s summer Shakespeare Festival where she meets Leo. It’s not long before they’re running an under-the-table tour of the festival’s most famous actress. There’s a little mystery surrounding her death twenty years prior and Cedar and Leo are determined to figure it out…
1) The Shakespeare festival is such a fun setting for this book. I love books about the theatre. Where I live, we have two big summer theatre festivals (within a 2-hour driving radius), so this is familiar ground to me. I also have done work in theatre myself (all behind the scenes).
2) There are tunnels that run under the theatre for the actors to get backstage. How fun is that? (And yes, this is a huge attraction to the kids in the story.)
3) I love how the kids are hired to sell the programs and concessions at the festival. And that their boss, Gary, is so into it. “Remember, you are in England!” Of course, they’re not actually allowed to speak with a British accent… except Leo.
4) The backstory of the death of Cedar’s dad and brother in a car crash is nicely woven into the plot. I also love Cedar’s relationship with her younger brother Miles. (Although, I don’t understand their fascination with watching the soap opera; I’m with the mom on that one!)
5) Leo is awesome. I love his enthusiasm for Lisette Chamberlain and how he knows everything there is to know about her. And how the kids set up a little tour-guide business!
6) I loved that the book was divided up into “Acts.” Although, since this was a Shakespearean festival, in my opinion, it should have been divided up into five acts, instead of three. And the epilogue… They totally missed the opportunity to call it: Curtain Call!
WHAT’S NOT COOL…
1) Another name that didn’t feel like it needed to be sooooo unique. And I kept forgetting her name (the story is told in first person). And with her brothers named Ben and Miles, Cedar seems like she doesn’t belong to the same family.
2) The ending was a little bit meh for me. (*SPOILERS) There’s this big build-up to the tunnels that run under the theatre. And while the kids do get to explore them, it’s probably the least interesting part of the book. Nothing happens there. We already know about the ring. Basically, it felt anti-climatic. (End Spoiler)
I would recommend to theatre-lovers. Double points for anybody who loves Shakespeare. I wish the hint at mystery worked better than it does, but overall it’s not a bad read. I enjoyed it.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…