Review: Summerlost by Ally Condie

It’s the first real summer since the devastating accident that killed Cedar’s father and younger brother, Ben. But now 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.



I really liked this book. I thought that it was such a fun read that had a lot of heart. You know, this is why I am a firm advocate for reading middle grade books no matter how old you are. Every middle grade book I’ve read at this age has impacted me so much. It’s amazing.

This book really forced emotions that I’ve buried to surface. Things like grief. Like pure and innocent curiosity and rebelliousness. I just felt everything that Cedar was feeling and it was powerful.



Leo was an excellent charachter but in a lot of ways, I felt like he was underdeveloped and lacking something. Like I know the crux of the story centered around him and his need to raise money and I did appreciate that but I just felt like there was something missing.

I guess it largely was due to the fact that we were not in his head at any point that made me feel sort of disconnected from him.


Cedar on the other hand was the complete opposite. She had a lot of depth and her character had a lot of layers and it was really fun to explore that and her grief.

I think in a lot of ways Cedar helped me process a lot of feelings. I mean this week has been one of the most emotionally draining ones of my life.

In fact just two days ago I saw a dead man being embalmed right in front of me. I walked into a the room my grandfather was embalmed in and possibly interviewed his embalmer. I then attended a Buddhist encoffining. All this was for a series of articles I’m doing on Youth.SG.

I didn’t expect it to take it’s toll on me but it really did and I think it helped that I was reading this book alongside all this because it really helped me to bring a lot of unresolved grief to the surface and forced me to deal with it if that makes sense because in the book, Cedar is still very rawly grieving for her brother and father.


Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was hard to read at certain points because it is a highly emotional book but it’s so worth it. I completely recommend taking a few hours out of your day to read this short little book.

*A copy of this book was provided to me by Penguin but all opinions are my own*




7 thoughts on “Review: Summerlost by Ally Condie

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