I joined the group of people reading Summerlost by Ally Condie. This is a great middle school read with warmth, friendship loss, sadness and renewal. Condie has lots of young adult books out but this is the first I have heard of her. My head must have been under a rock since Ally is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010 plus there are sequels, CROSSED and REACHED.
Summerlost follows Cedar’s summer with her mother and brother Ben as they try to settle into the new life of a family of three – a family missing their father and one very important brother. Condie slowly fills us in on the accident that has take the two family member away and the impact these people had on their lives. We see the world through Cedar’s reflections and actions as she steps back into the world of friends and activities.
Living in a small town for the summer Cedar befriends Leo and finds herself with a couple of jobs at the local theater festival and a town mystery. She develops from being shy and withdrawn to stepping up to support her friend in many ways. In the process of helping others Cedar also finds ways to help herself and in some way her family as well.
This is a quiet read with no magic, no real scary scenes or wild adventures but readers will find honesty, emotions and friendships are clear and present. This a great read to help students look at relationships and loss.