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The Summer Prince

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  4,598 ratings  ·  876 reviews
The lush city of Palmares Tres 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 she meets Enki, the bold new Summer King. The whole city falls in love with him including June's best fr ...more
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published March 1st 2013 by Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic
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Sarah There is some kind of summer king every five years, alternating between sun and moon so each of those is on a ten year cycle. Each queen is chosen by …moreThere is some kind of summer king every five years, alternating between sun and moon so each of those is on a ten year cycle. Each queen is chosen by an adult sun king. Five years later, at the end of her first term, a young moon king is elected. Supposedly he could pick a different queen, but they always arrange it so the same woman gets a second term.(less)

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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,598 ratings  ·  876 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Jun 07, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook
What. The. Mess.
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.
I really want to write a hardcore rage-y review on this one - but I really can't. I just can't.

I listened to ten hours of audiobook and just feel...empty. Numb.

I despair at the thought of dwelling on this book any more than str
Jun 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Elizabeth Drake
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
Tamora Pierce
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-ya-yr
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
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
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Summer Prince tore 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
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. ...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
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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

Maybe there's something wrong with me, because so many people seem to not like this one? I loved it though, I really did. I actually don't even totally know what to say about it because I feel like I'm still kind of processing, you know?

Maybe I'll just start with some of the things that I've seen people complain about.

1) June is a spoiled rich kid brat: True. But she does grow up some over the course of the story, and her brattiness and anger with her mother always felt realistic to me.
Domashita Romero
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
usagi ☆ミ
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
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Rachel Brown
Jul 27, 2012 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. ...more
Ebony Elizabeth Thomas
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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.

Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[NOTE: I first published this at Speculative Chic.]

June lives in futuristic Brazil, where she creates amazing art - including installing lights under her skin. But her best work is a secret project she's collaborating on with Enki. They've known from the start that their time together is fleeting, so their deadline is tight. Like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is scheduled to be sacrificed.

The vivid lights and imagery should inspire some awesome fan-art by readers. Art, life, death, and the f
I quite enjoyed this. I know very little about Brazilian culture so I have no idea of the story's accuracy.
None the less I liked the world building and imagery. I also like that this novel handled same sex relationships, open relationships and even masturbation in a casual way. It's all handled tastefully and not at all inappropriate or salacious.
Slow in places and some logic jumps but standard YA tropes.
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, thinking-books, 2017
I picked this up a bit randomly and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. It touches on a surprising array of things to make you think including how art can make an impact, the role of technology in our lives and political power.
Lauren Stoolfire
DNF @ 10%

I thought the audiobook sounded like it had potential. Unfortunately, it just wan't for me. Onward...
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.

Reread, 2021: I liked this better when I read it the first time on audio. In that format I was less aware of the YA genre elements, like abrupt scenes and first person present tense, which I find obnoxious; and language is such an important part of the worldbuilding and atmosphere that I benefitted from hearing it read aloud. But this is still a fluid polyamorous love story between a sacrificial king, the boy who loves him, a gifted young artist, and a massive futuristic city built in the wake o ...more
Aug 04, 2012 marked it as to-read
Is that a POC on the cover? How very awesome.
The summer Prince is set in a futuristic Brazil, in a city named Palmares Tres. There, the main characters, two 17 year old best friends: Gil and June, in one year time, discover more than they wish to know about their city, politics, love and science.

I didn't get it.
I didn't understand the story.

The sci-fi part was... confusing. In this future Brazil; the characters can alter their appearances (cf June in the cover), live up to 250 year old, upload their mind or bodies, be threaten by spider
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
Mar 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: literally no one, ever.
2015 reading challenge:a book that takes place in your hometown country (45/50)

This book is confusing, makes no sense whatsoever and is just plain old boring, not to mention offensive to a Brazilian like me. Let me list the reasons:

1. The author did NO research on Brazil!!!

I understand that this is a Dystopian world and that you can make as many changes as you want, but I at least expect it to resemble a little bit like my home.

This Brazil is the Brazil fantasized by a gringo (foreigner)
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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.”
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