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The Summer Prince

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The Summer Prince Cover

ISBN13: 9780545417792
ISBN10: 0545417791
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Awards

Staff Pick

In a futuristic Brazilian city where dancing and danger are often the same thing, a glowing protagonist is tangled up in art, rebellion, and charming young men with tragic fates. The near-instant total immersion of this book left me dazzled by Johnson's storytelling.
Recommended by The Dot, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 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 Três 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.

Review:

"Eighteen-year-old artist June Costa is a citizen of Palmares Três, 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 Spirit Binders series) depicts a future that’s recognizably Brazilian and human — June may have nanohooks, holo screens, and light implants, but 400 years on, teens still resent their parents and find ways to subvert the technology their elders theoretically control. With its complicated history, founding myth, and political structure, Palmares Três is compelling, as is the triple bond between June, Enki, and Gil as they challenge their world’s injustices." Publishers Weekly, starred review

Review:

"An art project, a rebellion and a sacrifice make up this nuanced, original cyberpunk adventure." Kirkus, starred review

About the Author

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.

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

mariko18, February 20, 2013 (view all comments by mariko18)
Alaya Dawn Johnson's "The Summer Prince" is a contemporary work that evokes the quality of classic science fiction that the genre has lost in a quagmire of space operas and dystopic battle-royales. It posits a future that is easily imaginable given the state of contemporary technology and society, and explores the inherent dangers, not in technology itself, but in how humans might (mis)use it. Consequently it becomes a gripping analysis of human nature, life, power, and the sociopolitical workings of the world. A world that takes for granted the fluid nature of sexuality, explores the pitfalls of chasing immortality, assisted suicide, the convergence of ritual and technology, the balance of power and mutual disrespect between youth and extreme age-"Summer Prince" has it all.

Yet at its heart, "Summer Prince" is the story of one girl's tumultuous journey towards maturity and her relationship with those she loves. June Costa is a girl with a mission, who wants to do what's right but is navigating the pitfalls and inherent narcissism that results from being a teenager. June is deeply reflective about the outside world, but is still learning how to be introspective. This allows her to grow. If Johnson hadn't written her questioning her own obsession with winning the Queen's Prize, it might have felt contrived: Her desire for the prize is completely irrational. But desire is irrational. June knows continuing to chase this prize after she's learned how corrupt the system is and her thirst for public recognition wanes, is illogical, but her inability to let go in spite of that is painfully realistic. Her relationship with her family and the slow revelation of the events surrounding her father's death are among the most compelling parts of the novel. Her friendship with Gil is delightfully deep. Though they drift apart whenever they get caught up in their own personal nonsense, they always find their way back to each other. June's growing friendship with Enki is also strong, and despite June's descriptions of how he affects her physically, feels more like an intellectual love affair than a romance. They understand each other on a fundamental, even primal level, akin to two missiles on an inescapable collision course: When they hit the explosion will change the world.

Reviews describe June’s relationship with Gil and Enki as a love triangle, yet calling it such feels reductive. While it might have been more interesting if sex hadn't entered into the equation on the Enki/June side, Johnson creates a complex, layered and deeply nuanced emotional relationship between these three characters that is immensely compelling. The love that holds it together is varied, allowing the novel to explore different kinds of love that are equally powerful and all-consuming. Johnson does not privilege any one variety of love over the others, though the Gil-June and June-Enki sides of the triangle are arguably more fully developed. June, the central and narrating character, is naturally more knowledgeable and concerned about her relationship with Gil and Enki than their relationship with each other. Still, Enki and Gil's love for one another captivates Palmares Tres and pervades the story.

Johnson's colorful and multi-dimensional cast of supporting characters, intriguing narrative structure, and vivid prose complete a novel that is as evocative (perhaps even provocative) as it is captivating. This is without a doubt her best novel to date.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780545417792
Author:
Johnson, Alaya Dawn
Publisher:
Arthur A. Levine Books
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20130331
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 9
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in
Age Level:
14

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Children's » New Arrivals
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Science Fiction
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Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Adolescence
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Young Adult » General

The Summer Prince New Hardcover
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$17.99 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Arthur A. Levine Books - English 9780545417792 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

In a futuristic Brazilian city where dancing and danger are often the same thing, a glowing protagonist is tangled up in art, rebellion, and charming young men with tragic fates. The near-instant total immersion of this book left me dazzled by Johnson's storytelling.

"Review" by , "Eighteen-year-old artist June Costa is a citizen of Palmares Três, 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 Spirit Binders series) depicts a future that’s recognizably Brazilian and human — June may have nanohooks, holo screens, and light implants, but 400 years on, teens still resent their parents and find ways to subvert the technology their elders theoretically control. With its complicated history, founding myth, and political structure, Palmares Três is compelling, as is the triple bond between June, Enki, and Gil as they challenge their world’s injustices."
"Review" by , "An art project, a rebellion and a sacrifice make up this nuanced, original cyberpunk adventure."
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