The Summer Prince

The Summer Prince

Book rating: 04 Hardback

By (author) Alaya Dawn Johnson

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  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • Format: Hardback | 289 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 212mm x 30mm | 420g
  • Publication date: 1 March 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0545417791
  • ISBN 13: 9780545417792
  • Sales rank: 298,754

Product description

A heart-stopping story of love, death, technology, and art set amid the tropics of a futuristic Brazil. 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 friend, Gil). But June sees more to Enki than amber eyes and a lethal samba. She sees a fellow artist. Together, June and Enki will stage explosive, dramatic projects that Palmares Tres will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government's strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, unfortunately in love with Enki. Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die. Pulsing with the beat of futuristic Brazil, burning with the passions of its characters, and overflowing with ideas, this fiery novel will leave you eager for more from Alaya Dawn Johnson.

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Author information

Alaya Dawn Johnson's short story "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was included in the ZOMBIES VS UNICORNS anthology (Margaret K. McElderry, 2010), edited by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black. THE SUMMER PRINCE is her first young adult novel. She lives in New York City.

Customer reviews

By Giselle SM 25 Oct 2014 4

"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 found the whole sordid crowning of the Summer Prince to be original and rather sad at the same time. There is nothing worse than knowing your time is going to end.

The technology that was brought up in the world was incredibly fascinating and inventive. I was amazed at how many great pieces were described and shown throughout the story. My favourite is having light embedded under your skin so you can glow. It shows that precisely on the cover and the effect is beautiful to say the least. I found the Japanese ambassador and his part in the story to be important, only because I felt that it had the dynamics of real world politics. Where one world is fully immersed in technology and the other is seen as clinging to the past instead of the future. Can you imagine turning living humans into immortal data streams? You can live forever as data..

At first, it was hard to get used to the language and the terminology that was used, so I had to constantly remember which was what, and if I didn't know what they were talking about, I ended up imagining it anyway. I wished there was some sort of glossary, or some explanation as to which things were, but then it might have made the story sound broken.

With beautiful POC characters, wonderful imagery and a futuristic world all wrapped up in beautiful Brazil, the Summer Prince will leave you with a little bit of a book hangover. I know I still can't get over that ending..

Review quote

After a nuclear winter, survivors in Brazil build the towering pyramid city of Palmares Tres, where every five years an elected king chooses a Queen and is then sacrificed. Privileged, rebellious young artist June Costas is mesmerized by this year's election, and she fiercely favors Enki, a beautiful boy from the bottom tier, the world of the algae vats and the perpetual stink. After his election, June and her best friend are drawn into Enki's world. With only a year to live, he is a brilliant and fast-burning star whose light opens June's eyes not to the serious issues--and corruption-- affecting her city, and with her art, she helps to release a surge of discontent. In this YA debut, Johnson paints a brilliant picture of a seemingly lush paradise hiding a core rotted by class stratification, creative stagnation, and disenfranchisement. Evocative, disturbing, and exhilarating, this story leaves much for the reader to ponder, from the nuanced characters to fascinating central themes, including the impact of technology and the role of isolationism in a perilous world. Like leaping into cold water on a hot day, this original dystopian novel takes the breath away, refreshes, challenges, and leaves the reader shivering but yearning for another plunge. -- Lynn Rutan, "Booklist "starred review "Eighteen-year-old artist June Costa is a citizen of Palmares Tres, a vertically structured city in what was once Brazil, with the rich at the top, the poor at the bottom, and a vital tradition of music and dance. Its centenarian queen keeps a tight rein on the tech--electronic and pharmaceutical--that allows for intensive state security and bodily modification. Privileged but rebellious June and her best friend Gil live on Tier Eight, and when they get involved with Enki, a beautiful bottom-tier resident who will serve a year as the summer king before his ritual sacrifice, her political art gains attention, and things get dangerous. In her YA debut, Johnson (the Spiri