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The Summer Prince

3.55 of 5 stars 3.55  ·  rating details  ·  2,663 ratings  ·  570 reviews
A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil.

The lush city of Palmares Três shimmers with tech and tradition, with screaming gossip casters and practiced politicians. In the midst of this vibrant metropolis, June Costa creates art that’s sure to make her legendary. But her dreams of fame become something more when s
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published March 1st 2013 by Arthur A. Levine
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Zabet  Reading Between Classes
This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between Classes

Cover Impressions: Pretty. Yay, no whitewashing. Natural hair on a woman of color!

The Gist: Summer king gets elected, summer king gets killed - still don't understand why. June is spoiled brat who causes trouble and calls it art.


WARNING: This will be ranty. If you don't like swearing, please move on to another review - this one is not for you.

This book broke me. And not in the "oh my god this is so good nothing will ever compa
As a Brazilian young-woman, I found this book offensive on its bastardization of Brazilian culture, which is blatantly abused to make this empty fictional world seem "exotic."

Whereas I can acknowledge the author's multiple attempts at inclusiveness with PoC and bisexual characters, the problematic use of Brazilian culture under the "gentle savage" rule of thumb made me cringe. Regardless of the fact the story is set in a dystopian future, implying that the part of Brazilian culture that survived
Tamora Pierce
This dystopian science fiction novel is like nothing you've read, I promise you. For one thing, the plot and the crises depend on art: music, painting, structures made of light, composition, and sound. Art in this book creates a voice for the voiceless, and teaches the rich youths who play with it that it is serious.

In the distant future, after plenty of disasters, the world is reduced to a handful of city-states and the wilderness between them where most people cannot live. In the Brazilian-lik
I don't normally do this for any book, but I'm going to remove my review and try to do a rewrite of it because my wording on my issues with this book was poor and I think I can do a better job of explicating what I found wrong with this novel. Not sure when I'll rewrite it yet.
The Summer Princetore my heart out. I mean that as viscerally as possible without being actually literal.

It all starts with the worldbuilding. This is genuine sci-fi at its best, a whole new world fully realized from the tiers of the pyramid city to the verde and its catinga to Tokyo 10 and its immortal datastreams.Palmares Três is a real city in these pages, and it makes everything about the book so much truer.

The themes in this book!: technology is at once deadly and beautiful, art struggles w
This book goes places that not many other YA novels have gone before. It is complex, emotionally rich and exquisitely detailed. It is not perfect but that will be discussed a bit later. For the meantime, let’s just savour the fact that this book exists.

The Summer Prince is a post-apocalyptic novel set in what used to be Brazil. Patriarchy has been replaced by matriarchy and a king is sacrificed every year. There are Aunties who are a bit like senators or MPs, a Queen and a sub-Queen. There is a
I have so many bones to pick with this book, but I'd do my best to start at the beginning. First off, why the Summer Prince as the title? Enki, the man June loves, is a Summer King or a Moon Prince (i'm not entirely sure what the difference is, since the author was never very clear), but he was definitely never a summer prince.

And that's where I get into my next issue. I have never had to guess so much about what was going on while reading. I had NO idea at times, and would just sort of assume t
Amy (Amy's Book Den)
Sep 15, 2012 Amy (Amy's Book Den) marked it as to-read
Shelves: dystopias
This is me reading the summary...

Paragraph 1: Woooaaahhhh O__o

Paragraph 2: UhhhHHHHhhh *__*

Paragraph 3: Aaawwwww ^__^

Paragraph 3 (last line): AHDSGFRJSADJFSH x___x *dies*

Publication date: ARRGGHHHHGGGG!!!!!
Once my eyes grazed over the first words that composed the first line of the book I was sucked in. I could not look away from such a beautiful story that painted people of color brilliantly. I absolutely love the protagonist because of her imperfections, her liberated personality and her relationships. She is unpredictable, and realistic (to me at least, and her place in her World makes sense.) The story from her eyes was worth listening too. Her voice was so brilliantly constructed that I finis ...more
Domashita Romero
One of my first real forays into YA fiction, and I found it right up my alley. It hits my buttons left and right. The setting and setup are the real juice of this story: a matriarchal city-state where succession of power involves the ritual murder of young men. GREAT, WHEN DO I MOVE THERE? The Earth in this book is centuries past a large amount of sweeping nuclear warfare and the resultant fallout, both politically and biologically, and I loved the glimpses of the history and what the world outs ...more
This sounds overbaked, and it kinda is, but you've gotta go with it. Brazil, centuries after the apocalypse, a young man is elected summer king. He will reign for a year, rockstar and figurehead, and then he will select the new queen as he dies. Our teenage girl heroine achieves various pitches of quivering emotion about all of this.

Okay, the thing is, this is actually a really good book. Our heroine fancies herself an artist – excuse me, Artist – and the book is about her struggle with her poli
Rachel Brown
Jul 27, 2012 Rachel Brown marked it as to-read
I am in love with the cover. I wish it showed her face, though. I'm tired of all the headless women covers. But it's gorgeous, and, thankfully, not whitewashed.
Check out more of my reviews!
Why do I constantly do this to myself? I see an eye-catching cover and immediately decide to read a book despite negative reviews. I have to give Scholastic some major kudos because that is one eye-catching cover. The Summer Prince suffers from too many problems and I just couldn't enjoy this book.

The Summer Prince takes place in a futuristic Brazil and so the characters speak Portuguese. There are so many times that the author uses Portuguese terms and phrases wit
Jesse Cohen
So I've seen a lot of positive reviews for this book so far and I don't want to dissuade readers from checking out this book. However, I'd like to give my own fair opinion of the book to warn those with tastes similar to mine. Alaya Dawn Johnson does an amazing job creating a fantasy, utopian world in the city of Palamares Tres. The writing is descriptive and much of Johnson's world is refreshingly original. Much of her novel deals with the political tensions of a futuristic, female-dominated mo ...more
the golden witch.
This book is no less than stunning in nearly every way - a luscious, almost decadent read of a future city in a pyramid, with almost something for everyone, including magical realism, cyberpunk and sci-fi, a crazy mix of South American/Cuban-Afro and Japanese cultures. This is a tale of death and kings, of queens and machines, of youth and love, of war and peace. "The Summer Prince" is definitely one of my favorite books of 2013 so far because of its delicate yet bold storytelling, and because o ...more
Guinevere Thomas
First and foremost, I should mention I did not finish this book. I do not think it is fair to rate a book based on number of stars, when I did not in fact finish it, so unless I am forced to, this review is unrated.

I wasnt able to finish the book because I was disappointed in the book. I must admit, I have a bias. I dont admit to know Brazilian culture 100%. But I am learning,through having Brazilian friends, learning more about Brazilian culture through the experiences of Brazilian women, and j
June lives in Palmares Três, a city in a futuristic Brazil that considers itself the most beautiful city in the world. It's ruled by matriarchs, with a ceremonial king elected every five years to reaffirm the queen with his death. June and her fellow young citizens aren't entirely happy with their government. But the young have even less power in a world where people live to be hundreds of years old. Enki, the new Summer King, wants to use his death to make a difference. June wants to make art.

There's no chance I would have picked this up on my own, and I'm not really sure that I'm glad I did, to be honest. There definitely good writing and lots of interesting ideas going on here, and lots of great questions about gender, sexuality, age, and class, but I was so overwhelmed by the author's world-building that it was difficult to concentrate on anything interesting. I was too confused by the set up of the city and by the mythology she's created, and I never understood how the structure ...more
Sometimes I imagine the end of the world.

I imagine I’m a Queen. Odete, sitting in a bomb shelter somewhere on the coast of Bahia, in a country that had once been Brazil, and trying to force a new world from the screaming mouth of the old one. What wouldn’t I do? What wouldn’t I create? Who wouldn’t I sacrifice, if it would keep the world from ever dying again?

So I take my lover, my king, and I put him on a pedestal and I cut him down.
A man, like the ones who ruined the world.

And so, Palmares Tr
See this review and others like it at!

Alaya Dawn Johnson's The Summer King pulled me in with the promise of a dystopian novel not set in the US or the UK. What it really became was a look at change and revolution and how far you should go to change a broken system. I did enjoy reading this novel, Ms. Johnson's prose was beautiful and descriptive, but I never fell in love with the main character, June Costa. I also felt that the world-building was a little hit and miss. The
This review is also on Living for the Books

I really wanted to love this book. A books set in a futuristic Brazil? Sounds awesome. Sadly I was not impressed by The Summer Prince.

The beginning was extremely confusing.Words like waka and grande were used and I had no idea what they meant. It isn't until later that I find out that wakas are mostly people younger than 30 and grandes are people older than 30. It took awhile to get used to the words that June used but after awhile I think I understood
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I fully agree with the reviewers who noted that the concept is amazing but the execution is problematic. I was so excited to read The Summer Prince, and ended up disappointed.

There are hints of incredible world-building that are frustratingly undeveloped. Tensions are set up (between the under-30 "wakas" and the older "grandes," between those who want to open the society to new technology and those who don't, between the different classes of citizens in Palmares Tres, between individual characte
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)

Good, not quite great, but good. And an interesting kind of good. I really liked a lot about this, but so much of the worldbuilding is EXTREMELY confusing. However, characters = awesome and complex. Matriarchal fantasy world set in a jungle = awesome.

Thought provoking and beautifully written. Completely stands out in the wild mix of the dystopian genre. Definitely one of my favourites.

Proper review to come if I can figure out any coherent sentences about this amazing book.
Aug 04, 2012 Stephanie marked it as to-read
Is that a POC on the cover? How very awesome.
Giselle at BO-OK NERD Canada
"A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil." The blurb pretty much describes the entire story. Since there wasn't too much of a twisty-and-turny plot, I was surprised at how much I liked it. I felt the writing was too beautiful to put down. The fact that there are LG relations and that the characters are people of colour. I couldn't deny that it was a bit boring since political intrigue usually bores me, but this was still likable. I f ...more
4.5 stars.

Complex, ambitious, vivid, complicated, passionate. Art, life, death, progress, age. This book is so many things, so deftly woven together.

PROS: I love how amazingly interconnected the setting and themes were to the characters. June is refreshingly multi-faceted and at times contradictory -as real people tend to be- and we're not only told she loves art but we are shown how much she loves it. In fact, she comes to discover new aspects of art and what it can do when she meets Enki, and
A dystopian-esque novel set in a futuristic South America where cultures have melded together and the blame of wars past is given to the men of the world. Therefore to prevent any further disasters, a queen is elected by a “king” who is elected solely to be murdered right after he chooses the next reigning queen. This seemingly barbaric act is to ensure that the king, in the last minutes of life, will choose in an unhindered way with death quickly approaching.

And honestly? I didn’t particularly
Ebony Thomas
I finished this book on the plane to a children's literature conference, and have been sitting with it for a while. There is so much to love about this story. Johnson's world-building is masterful. if I don't get the opportunity to see Palmares Tres on the big screen, I hope that at least there will eventually be fanart of it. The visuality of this narrative almost made me long to immerse myself in this world.

The "almost" comes from the ending, which I will not spoil. I will say that *The Summer
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Alaya Johnson graduated from Columbia University in 2004 with a BA in East Asian Languages and Cultures. She lives in New York City.
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“To love light, you have to love dark. I'm not trying to be profound, I know you'll understand. I don't mean that you have to hate to love, or that you have to die to live.
I mean that sometimes, you turn out the lights just to turn them back on.”
“The past stands in the path of the future, knowing it will be crushed.” 9 likes
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