Summerlost by Ally Condie

Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers 

Summary:  Cedar, her mother, and younger brother are spending the summer in a newly purchased vacation home following the death of her father and middle brother in a car accident.  Their new house is in the town her mother grew up in, which is also home to the Summerlost Shakespeare Festival.  One day, Cedar sees a boy riding his bike in a costume.  Leo is a neighbor who works selling concessions at the festival, and he recruits Cedar to join him.  They quickly become friends, and Leo confides that he is starting a secret tour about the life of Lisette Chamberlain, the most famous actress ever to come out of the festival, who died mysteriously 20 years ago.  Soon Leo and Cedar are both giving the tours, and slowly learning to trust each other with their hopes, dreams, and fears.  As the summer progresses, Cedar gradually begins to come to terms with her grief and to start thinking about healing and moving on with her life.  272 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  A beautiful tale of friendship and healing, with a little bit of a mystery thrown in.  Despite the subject matter, the story was surprisingly upbeat.

Cons:  I almost decided against reading yet another story of a kid dealing with a tragedy; however, I was glad I persevered.

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