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3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  9,190 Ratings  ·  958 Reviews

Ethan Feld is bad at baseball. Hopeless, even. But when his father mysteriously disappears, Ethan is recruited to save him and the world by traveling the baseball-obsessed Summerlands to stop Coyote, the trickster, from unmaking existence. With help from a ragtag group of friends he meets along the way, Ethan must not only find his father and stop Coyote, but also master h
Paperback, 512 pages
Published March 8th 2011 by Disney-Hyperion (first published 2002)
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May 22, 2011 Neil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(A review from 2002 and the Washington Post, written before Coraline was published.)

It is possible to look at the growth of the phenomenon of “crossover” fiction – essentially, Children’s or Young Adult fiction which is enjoyed and consumed in quantity by adults – in several different ways. You could view it as a sad symptom of the creeping infantilisation of the culture. You could see it as a triumph of marketing. Or, more optimistically, you could view it as a need by adults for Story, without
Benjamin Duffy
The perfect love child of Shoeless Joe and American Gods, and one of the best tween-age novels I've come across.

This is the first of Michael Chabon's books that I've read, but it's obvious on every page that he isn't a children's author, but simply a great writer who decided to write a children's book. Better than merely utilitarian, Chabon's language is a joy to read: accessible enough that my then-9 year old stepson enjoyed it, yet I was kept on my toes by the rich, sharp imagery and inventiv
Jan 28, 2008 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Imagine Lord of the Rings if the characters stopped every couple days to play baseball.

Working within an amalgamation of Norse, Greek, and Native American mythology as well as American tall tales, Chabon tells a not atypical coming-of-age/quest story tied inextricably to baseball. Baseball, as it turns out, is not only America's pasttime, but also a sacred institution on the other planes of existence.
Ethan, a kid who hates baseball, must learn to love it as he battles his way across the Summerl
Sep 15, 2010 jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
one of the many qualities that sets michael chabon's writing well beyond the realm of his contemporaries is his obvious love of craft. throughout his works it is apparent that he finds sheer joy in the art of storytelling. chabon's enthusiasm for literature is far-reaching, as is evidenced by his ability to write engagingly well in many a different genre. no two chabon books are ever all that similar, and as his career evolves, he seems set on authoring works entirely unlike their predecessors. ...more
April Kyle Nassi
I miss baseball.
Aug 12, 2016 Tiffany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this with the kids on the road to New York--I'd listened to it on my own years ago, and have waited for the time when they were old enough, into baseball enough, etc. I bought it for other kids. But as Cubs fans say, "THIS [was] the year." The kids loved it: fairies AND sports?! Best of all possibles. Chabon does well reading, too, even with such a long book (12 discs). Don't know how old you have to be to read it in paper; I keep buying it in paper and then giving it away before I t ...more
Jan 20, 2011 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who sees a touch of magic in the world
Recommended to Alan by: His more adult-oriented work
"Yet we know that no branch is utterly severed from the Tree of Life that sustains us all."
—Peter Hewitt, as quoted in a Unitarian hymnal.

Michael Chabon's Summerland offers a tale both staunchly traditional and boldly imaginative, weaving elements of Norse mythology together with Native American legends, tall tales, and just a dash of science fiction. And baseball... more than anything else, this book is about baseball. But don't let that put you off, even if you don't care for the game (and I m
"They traded in their hell-hammers for bats, and their iron slippers for lace-up leather spikes. That's how all the demon virtues-patience, deception, quick hands, craftiness, an eye for the mistakes of others-they all got dragged deep into the game."

No, Mr. Chabon wasn't talking SPECIFICALLY about the New York Yankees...but we all get the reference, right? You know the feeling you get when you start reading something and internally you're going, "yeah, what he said, uhhuh, yup, oh yeah" and you
Nov 21, 2012 Woodge rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The description sounds good, eh? I read this aloud to the kids. About a hundred pages in I started having misgivings. I did not enjoy this book. But the kids would've been out of sorts had I not finished it (they'll listen to almost anything). I don't really have anything good to say about this book. While I've read other books by the author and really liked them, this one counts as a FAIL. (For the record, my wife really enjoyed it.) Here's what I didn't like about it:

a) the writing style: too
Joanna Vaught
name a writing gimmick that is used in fantasy, particularly young adult fantasy, and i'm sure it was employed here. an alternate reality that is tied to our reality that explains all the mythological and fantastical characters in our collective mythos? yes. time works differently in this world, so you can be there and be gone for a lifetime or only a few minutes or SHOCK even go back in time? yes. a powerful nemesis who is actually the embodiment of every known evil since the beginning of time, ...more
Mattia Ravasi
Sep 07, 2016 Mattia Ravasi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is Michael Chabon the most American American who ever lived?
Probably, for a variety of reason; and Summerland is indeed the most American fairy tail ever told. Read it if you like baseball, or America, or Michael Chabon, but especially if you like baseball.
I loved this book. Not quite as much as Kavalier & Clay, but still in the five star range. It had a kind of Neil Gaiman-y take on myth. I love books that explore myth or archtypes in a modern context, but this was a really good example. I have to admit the characters were far more likeable and accessible to me than many of Gaiman's characters. I enjoy baseball but I can't say I'm a big baseball fan' this really conveyed a sense of what the true fans see in it. I haven't read Chabon's works o ...more
Hannah Notess
Sep 03, 2012 Hannah Notess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, northwest
A great summer novel and a great baseball novel and a ripping good yarn. Bonus points for being set on a mythical island in Puget Sound, Clam Island, so a perfect book for a lovely Northwest summer. Meanwhile, it's so pleasurable to read a story where, even if characters are traveling through strange lands and meeting mythical creatures, they are still characters first and foremost, and they grow and change as the story goes on (for contrast, see The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship ...more
I guess if I were eleven years old, this book would've been alright... But, coming from a Pulitzer-winning author, I was kinda expecting a 500-page kids' fantasy novel to be at least moderately entertaining for adults as well. Chabon's prose is excellent, but he tries too hard to be quirky; and, therefore, the story never really sucks you in the way it's supposed to because nearly everything that happens in the plot feels random and silly. The basic premise of SUMMERLAND is that a boy selected t ...more
Nov 23, 2007 Don rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children who love wild adventure
While I had trouble falling into the story, the writing, as would be expected with venerable Mr. Chabon, was superb.

I read this book on the recommendation of my daughter and my wife as they both really loved the book. As a kids book goes, this thing is packed with everything that make children's literature memorable and stuffed with so much more that I hope children everywhere get the opportunity to read this book.

Using baseball as The Creation Story, Michael Chabon delightfully spins every co
Summerland, by Michael Chabon, is a baseball-themed novel about Ethan Feld and his friends'(Jenifer T. Rideout, Thor Wignutt, Cinquefoil the ferister, Taffy the sasquach, Cutbelly the werefox, Grim the giant, Pettipaw the wererat, and Spider-Rose the ferisher) attempt to defeat the evil Coyote (he's not a coyote, that's just his name). In this novel, Ethen starts out as a kid who is not that good at baseball and is on the worst team in Summerland. His dad loves baseball, so Ethan tries harder to ...more
Jan 02, 2008 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author take a stab at writing for young adults. A very clever fantasy incorporating our ‘real’ world with a parallel one that most mere humans don’t know about, this is adventure and fantasy in brilliant colorful language and solid, interesting characters, mostly young or not human. Ethan Field, the protagonist young fellow, is wonderful as he embarks on the challenge of rescuing his father from evil Coyote, and ends up working to save the world while he’s at it. The f ...more
Terry Brooks
Nov 11, 2010 Terry Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summerland came out a couple of years ago, a young adult novel by prize winning writer Michael Chabon. I bought it because I like the author's other work, and I was intrigued by the baseball aspect of the structure. Basically, it is an end of the world story in which baseball plays a role in not only daily life but in the possibility of salvation. It sounds weird, and it is - which made it all the more interesting to me. A boy who can't hit or field becomes our best hope in a struggle with dark ...more
Aug 14, 2015 Teague rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a few days, and I'm still not quite sure what I think of this book. It's long, and I finished it, so I suppose that's a good sign. It made me want to love baseball (like I had just finished watching "Field of Dreams").

UPDATE: From a few months on, I can say that I enjoyed it and have fond memories of it.

I do have one [minor] gripe, though: Edwin Schrödinger's point with his famous cat example is that a thing *cannot* be both alive and dead at the same time -- the cat is either alive or
Feb 18, 2009 Kerry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Harry Potter, of Chabon's other books
MAN I really liked this book! It was better in the middle than the end, but that's okay, that might be how I feel about all kid-goes-on-a-magical-journey, Joseph Campbell type stuff.

So! The storyline was familiar, as I already sort of alluded to above. But I didn't mind, because the writing is clever, the ideas are cute, and the characters were likeable, and not too cliche'. Most importantly, the story was FUN. Hooray for Summerland and also for baseball!

Everyone who liked Harry Potter should re
Vinayak Kumar
Apr 07, 2015 Vinayak Kumar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Summerland, a fantasy novel by Michael Chabon, tells the tale of Ethan Feld, an awful baseball player, who, ironically, is forced to save the world by playing baseball. In a universe of multiple dimensions, dead baseball players, and tribal midgets, Ethan must shove his mediocrity to the side and get ready to play ball.
Overall, Summerland was an excellent book. It showed that people should face their fears and follow their dreams. Chabon made Ethan a likeable character that the reader sympathize
Nov 26, 2013 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. So much myth combined with the magic of baseball and the ultimate American road trip...I can't think of a better book to kick off the summer and to be enjoyed by parents and teens. This is all the better for listening to the author as narrator in the car with family. Well done, Michael Chabon!
Feb 09, 2016 Marissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-reads
If I were going to have kids, this is the book I would read to them every day until they loved baseball. And when they invariably turned out to hate baseball, I would read this to them until they realized that they're wrong.
Oct 16, 2007 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The pace is a bit slow, but that seems to fit because the story is about baseball. Also multidimensionality and the eternal fight of good against evil.
David Everett
Jun 06, 2013 David Everett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best fantasy book about baseball, faeries, zeppelins, American Indian mythology, and Sasquatch ever written.
Jun 02, 2016 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
'Read' ... sort of. .... Got to page 300 and just ... stopped reading. Oh, yes, there is wit and whimsicality in the book, without a doubt. And there was the fun of reading Story (see the Washington Post review posted elsewhere in these pages for 'Story') -- particularly during the 'Summertime'? -- that could be read easily, and the reading of which went on and on, without effort, while it lasted... But the book, after 300 pages, simply didn't gel enough for this reader. Others may have a totall ...more
Mr. McCarthy
This was a fun read. For its length, I found that details were sometimes foggy and things were sometimes difficult to process or visualize. For that reason, some of the more unique aspects of Chabon's fantasy world (like "scampering") lost a little magic. I felt inclined to give the book the benefit of the doubt in that regard, but selling this as a children’s book makes it hard to forgive some of the clumsy and confusing narrative structures. That being said, certain loveable characters make th ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Daniela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lodgepole is in peril!

Baseball, fairy tales, and a little bit of mythology makes for an interesting and slightly disturbing romp through the Four Worlds (Summerland, Winterland, The Midling, and the Closed World). That old Coyote is up to his tricks again and the only way to save it is to play an epic round of baseball.

I listened to this story on audio book, read by the author--the presentation was fantastic! The end seemed a little anticlimactic in the way of the quest story and enough cus
Apr 18, 2015 Thom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Here is a book I wish that I had as a young adult. Michael Chabon blends baseball, Northwest Tribal lore, American tall tales, a scattering of Norse mythology, planar travel and the end of the world into a very good "coming of age" story.

Ethan's team plays on a fictional island in Puget Sound and his team is 0 for the season so far (they haven't won a game). Despite the prevailing weather in the rest of their island (and the Sound), it *never* rains at their little league ball park. This is beca
Apr 25, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2014
This was a book sale purchase at the local library. Chabon is one of those authors that I'll buy their book, pretty much sight unseen. I hadn't heard of it, but the blurb on the back sold me.

...a motley crew of creatures that includes everything from a Sasquatch to a werefox, Ethan struggles to defeat giants, bat-winged goblins and one of the toughest ball clubs in the realms of magic in order to save the Summerlands and ultimately, the world.

Pretty much targeted at the youth market, it was a de
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summerland 3 34 Dec 01, 2007 06:38PM  
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Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was mad ...more
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“The fundamental truth: a baseball game is nothing but a great slow contraption for getting you to pay attention to the cadence of a summer day.” 46 likes
“Nothing is boring exept to people who aren't really paying attention.” 46 likes
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