The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson

/ posted in: Reading

Every five years the pyramidal city of Palmares Tres elects a new Summer King. In the next year he dies in a ceremony designed to legitimize the rule of the Queen.

June Costa is a teenager who wants to be the best artist in Palmares Tres. When she and her best friend Gil meet the newly crowned Summer King, Enki, they realize that Enki has plans to make his reign more than symbolic.

This book was a breath of fresh air in the future dystopian YA genre. First of all, there has been an ecological disaster that has caused people to live in enclosed cities but it isn’t exactly a dystopia. Women referred to as Aunties rule the city but it isn’t a brutal regime. It feels a lot like a city that is a logical progression of events.

Second, there is a love triangle and insta-love which I generally don’t like. However, in this triangle one guy and one girl are in love with the second guy. Sexuality is fluid throughout society. June’s father died two years ago and her mother recently married a woman.

The story takes place in Brazil. Samba is an important part of the story. When people discuss studying classical music they are referring to old samba and bossa nova songs. The characters in the story reflect Brazil’s multicultural history. Enki, the hero and sex object of the story, is described as “negro.” June and Gil are lighter skinned but what we would call mixed race.

I’m giving this book four stars for the originality plus that cover is gorgeous!

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