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Summer of Night (Seasons of Horror #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,488 Ratings  ·  693 Reviews
It’s the summer of 1960 and in the small town of Elm Haven, Illinois, five twelve-year-old boys are forging the powerful bonds that a lifetime of change will not break. From sunset bike rides to shaded hiding places in the woods, the boys’ days are marked by all of the secrets and silences of an idyllic childhood. But amid the sun-drenched cornfields, their loyalty will be ...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Brilliance Audio (first published January 1st 1991)
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May 09, 2012 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of horror.
Shelves: horror
The thing that impressed me about this book was not so much Simmons' ability to scare, but to build characters and the world they live in. Simmons draws a map of this small town in your head so well that the reader can see everything that happens vividly. I read other reviews criticizing the time the story takes to develop, but I feel that this is one of the strengths. It is a couple hundred pages in before something scary actually happens. By this time, the reader is anticipating these events, ...more
Apr 25, 2008 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I know many will call it blasphemy, but this book put Simmons ahead of King in my mental list of great horror authors. "Summer of Night" is closest in story to "It" only without the haphazard ending (and 400 pages shorter). When you pick this book up at the store, you will notice that it is a thin book, and make the same assumption that I did, which was that I was about to read a 200-300 page story. About 100 pages in, it dawned on me that there was still a long way to go, flipping to the back I ...more
Sep 19, 2015 Ctgt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Loved this book! It goes right to the top with Boy's Life, Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Body as one of my favorite small town, coming of age books. If you like any of those books you should enjoy this story. A group of friends band together to battle a supernatural menace and in the process take me back to my days of adolescence. I have struggled with some of Simmons's work in the past and even though this was just over 600 pages I never felt like it bogged down. There were a couple o ...more
Edward Lorn
Jan 10, 2016 Edward Lorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror fans and that one dude I knew in school.
Shelves: paperbacks
Preface: Some of you will read this review and wonder why I gave it such a high score when I had such a big problem with a certain aspect of the storyline. Those of you who feel confused by my rating should know that, yes, this book is terrific. It transported me to another time and place. For me, it effortlessly captured a sense of nostalgia for something I never experienced. I wasn't alive in the 60s. I didn't grow up in a small town, though I did live in one for my final years as a teenager. ...more
Summer Of Night is a bloated book (I have a 500 page hardcover) that could really, really use some good editing. Dan Simmons clearly has good intentions, but most of them are lost in complete staleness and cliches of the plot.

So far, one of my favorite books I've re-read this year has been King's IT, which I consider one of his true masterpieces. After finishing Summer of Night, I can't help but think that Dan Simmons also shared my enthusiasm and sat down to write his own IT. Ultimately, though
May 02, 2010 Kasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summer of Night was one of the most incredible books I have ever read and mind you it's not because I'd rather read a book on a Friday night than party, much to my boyfriends dismay as I so often do.

Dan Simmons wove a masterful tale of 1960's Illinois with its cozy little town and streets, Saturday outdoor movies and the kids who were the true heroes of the story. It reminded me of Goonies in places as we quickly grow to like Dale and his younger brother Lawrance, Mike, Duane and Kevin and Jim H
Feb 05, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All Dan Simmons fans know that he can write successfully in any genre he chooses and that he likes to mix horror into various other genres. Here is his YA/horror novel. It's a bit too horrific, profane, violent, sexy and grim to actually appear in the YA section of any bookstore, though, what with all the guns, swearing, incipient sexuality amongst eleven year-olds, kiddie-crime and gruesome, well, horror. Which is, of course, why it's great and worth any eleven-year-old's time (or that of any o ...more
Erin ☕ *Proud Book Hoarder*

4.5 stars

Summer of Night is one of those books where the story is a delight to read but the review is kind of hard to do. It's also my first novel from Dan Simmons. After finishing this book, I definitely want to read more of his work soon.

The story is a sort of coming-of-age tale centered around a group of children growing up together in a small town in the 60's. School is out, summer is here, how exciting. The author brings alive the excitement of that first summer day when school is out and o
I read "The Winter Haunting" which is the sequel to this book. On Goodreads it shows these books as a trilogy called The Seasons of Horror, I cannot find these books grouped together as a trilogy anywhere else. After reading the reviews for the 2nd book in the trilogy called "The Children of the Night", I realized that not one of the reviewers spoke of this book or the 3rd, "The Winter calling". The first and the third do go together. The characters in this book are a group of friends when they ...more
Adam Light
I'm not sure I would go as far as to say that Dan Simmons' Summer Of Night is a "must read" for all horror fiction fans. I made it forty years before ever hearing about it.
What I will say is that I find it almost criminal that this coming of age horror tale is so obscure. I am thankful for the freinds I have on Goodreads for cluing me in on Simmons.The first one of his books I read was the astonishingly complex and brilliant Carrion Comfort, which is a "must read." This one should be read by any
Considering how long ago I read this the first time around, I had forgotten most of the "little details" concerning this book. Still one of my favorites. :)
Stephen King book blurb says: "If Summer of the Night isn't the best horror novel of the last five years, it is surely one of the best three - a gorgeous and terrifying story of five boys who come face to face with a monstrous entity during an enchanted Illinois summer thirty years ago. Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel, loading his American nightmare with scares, suspense, and a sweet, surprising nostalgia. This is one of those rare must-read books, easily surpassing Clive Barker's Books ...more
Jan 16, 2008 Blake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Blake by: my dad, i think
I've read this book twice. There's something about young kids battling great, dark, unknown forces that always gets my blood pumping. the secret world of youth/innocence in the context of supernatural, otherwise invisible dimensions. how adults lose their seeing eyes perhaps because they're afraid of that which they can't comprehend, or that which they deny. there are a few chilling scenes in this book that still return to me every now and then. i probably love this book in the same way i love t ...more
Leah Polcar
This review refers to the audiobook.

I only heard of Dan Simmons recently when one of my Goodreads groups had Summer of Night as an option for a group read. Truly, I was only mildly interested. Between the sort of cheesy cover and the description -- kids confront ancient evil in their own backyard and fight to save humanity, or something like that -- it's only saving grace seemed that it was the best of a bad lot. Then I saw some reviews proclaiming Dan Simmons a horror genius and saying that
May 25, 2012 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever wanted to read a Stephen King novel that DOESN'T have a shitty ending? Here ye go. Simmons manages to cram together everything cool about Stand By Me and It with none of the bloat, while throwing in a little bit of The Sandlot and a whole lot of balls. Main characters die suddenly and savagely. Sixth-graders murder people. Hundreds of shots are fired. And everything makes sense in the end. But not, y'know, TOO much sense. It's a damn good, creepy time.

If I HAD a gripe, it would be that the
Thomas Strömquist
First of 2016 - Buddy read with Edward Lorn - first one to enter my favorite shelf in quite some time!

In what should be a perfectly normal summer of 1960 in Elm Haven, a group of kids gets aware that a great evil is waking up. On the last day of school, one boy vanishes and other strange things starts happening. All seems to be connected to their school itself, the Old Central. As the kids starts to tentatively investigate some of the odd happenings, sightings and strange behaving townspeople th
Feb 04, 2013 Bandit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once in a while there comes a book that completely lives up to all its hype and great reviews, a book that transcends genres by not just being a great horror story, but a great novel, a great work of fiction. Summer of Night is one of those books. Epic in scope, massive and thoroughly awesome in every way. The author perfectly captures the freedom and excitement of being a kid during the summer. It's well written and genuinely scary in parts. The pages and characters come to life with cinematic ...more
Nov 04, 2015 Qzman rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nakon par mjeseci odsustva sa sajta,red je da se malo aktiviram.Dobar horor,nema sta(zavrsnica romana atipicna za Simonsa).Mnogo maste je potroseno za opise demonskih hordi koje opsjedaju mali,i do tada mirni Elm Hejven.grupica drugara je u fokusu,stali su na zulj slugama tame,i oni ce biti jedina nada svojim sugradjanima.Radnja se odvija brzo,nekako trilerski,finale takodje,i zato mi se nije bas svidjeo roman.Ipak horor i fantazi elementi romana su na visokom nivou,kao i pripovjedacki dar Dena ...more
⊱ Irena ⊰
Oct 31, 2014 ⊱ Irena ⊰ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Summer of Night could be shorter and it wouldn't lose anything. I see readers comparing it to It or Boy's Life. Fortunately for this book, I still have to read Boy's Life, so that leaves It. I don't think it could stand the comparison to both. The similarities with It are obvious - a group of pre-teens fighting something evil. However, while I liked the children from It, it took me a while to see anything remotely good in this group.

Certain things are a bit repetitive. Yes, we got that Kevin
Jan 29, 2014 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The author has a masterful control of language. The story brings to life a childhood summer and the sense of nostalgia most of us feel when looking back on childhood events that bear significance on our lives. Tapping this archetypal current of experience, Simmons develops the setting and characters thoroughly before delving into the plot and the action.
The early chapters (perhaps through chapter 19) establish the setting, atmosphere and characters with hints of horror subtly interspersed at ver
Oct 02, 2010 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Did you know that the monster under the bed is real? So is the one in the closet. As for that creepy school janitor, there is a very dark reason he is so creepy.

This is my second taste of Dan Simmon's work, one that leaves me ready to kick myself for not finding him sooner. He's been at it for a while now-this book dates from 1991-but he flew under my radar until I recently read the very excellent The Terror, and now this.

Simmon's ability to pack 600 pages rich with detail is easily to that of S
This review is being written several years after I read the book. Every now and then, this book pops into my head as being one of the best horror novels to keep me up all night since my early experiences with the writing of Stephen King. I read the sequel to this book a couple of years before I read this book; I didn't know there was an earlier book until I was halfway through the second. I give the book 4.5 stars because the last 100 or so pages were just too fantastical, too detailed, and too ...more
Jan 15, 2014 Addy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very slow to the action that its very possible for someone to give up. However, if you're determined to finish, like i was, you won't be disappointed. The characters were fun to get to know and there were definitely some memorable creepy parts along with interesting research done by the boys. The action towards the end was a little stretched out, but pretty awesome and satisfying. Dan Simmons is a little too wordy sometimes for me, but the language he uses can be beautiful. He is d ...more
Sadie Hartmann
Jun 11, 2016 Sadie Hartmann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's the end of 6th grade. Summer has just begun. You're 11 years old and don't have a care in the world with nothing but hot summer nights and adventures with your buddies to look forward to...unless you live in Elm Haven and you get to fight evil all summer. Death and destruction lurks around every corner for a small group of friends who have made some very serious enemies. If you loved Stephen King's IT, you'll love Summer of Night!!!
11811 (Eleven)
Jun 22, 2011 11811 (Eleven) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Stephen King blurbs on the cover that he is in awe of Dan Simmons. I concur. Simmons resurrects all your childhood fears and confirms their validity. Their IS something under the bed, its pissed, and you have every reason to be very afraid.
Aug 02, 2011 Pamela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(This was a goodreads give-away.)

I was so excited when I got this book. I had never read any of Simmons' work, but looking at the back cover, I was definitely impressed. Hugo Award. World Fantasy Award. Bram Stoker Award. Shirley Jackson Award. NYT bestsellers.

And since this is a reprinting, there won't be any of those pesky little things that come from sloppy editing.

Oh Wow!

Cracked it open and got ready to be Scared with a capital S.

Did not expect to be Bored with a capital B.

Did not expect to
Apr 24, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe light on the horror, but heavy with colorful characterizations of small town life in the 60's and how innocence can be lost very quickly and then somehow found again. Solid 4.5 Stars and Highly Recommended.
Nebojša Petković
Сјајно. Веома сам уживао у овој књизи.
Као што ми је на почетку читања и поменуто, видан је утицај Кинга, па би се чак могло рећи да је ово једно типично кинговско дело, које упркос томе не губи на аутентичности, баш због те особине самог аутора. Иако мене неодољиво подсећа на ТО (а ту књигу заиста волим), нисам ни једног тренутка имао утисак "већ виђеног". Има сличних тенденција, барем када је она суптилна драма одрастања у питању, па и неких свесно унетих детаља (дечак Двејн све време носи фла
Twerking To Beethoven
"Tremors" meets "Salem's Lot" meets "Alien", with a touch of "The Goonies".

The novel's not bad, but it's not Simmons' best offering either, me thinks. Put it this way: had "Summer of Night" been 150 page shorter, I guess this would be a four star review.

I think Dan Simmons wanted to write his own "It" *BUT*, whereas Stephen King's novel is a 1100 page rocket ride with literally no dull moments - I remember going through it in less than a week -, "Summer of Night" seems to be stuffed with redun
Oct 29, 2015 Joey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Well written, I loved the characters and the small town goings on were the best parts. The story had me believing it was about the evil bell but it was really about something far more unimaginable. It got way too ridiculous though. Save yourself the trouble and just read Stephen King's "IT".
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Dan Simmons grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Master
More about Dan Simmons...

Other Books in the Series

Seasons of Horror (3 books)
  • Children of the Night
  • A Winter Haunting

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“The sunset was that long, achingly beautiful balance of stillness in which the sun seemed to hover like a red balloon above the western horizon, the entire sky catching fire from the death of day; a sunset unique to the American Midwest and ignored by most of its inhabitants. The twilight brought the promise of coolness and the certain threat of night.” 3 likes
“People always pay a lot of money for things that make them stupid.” 2 likes
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