Review: ‘The Summer Prince’ by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Review: ‘The Summer Prince’ by Alaya Dawn JohnsonThe Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Published by Scholastic Inc. on March 1st, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, LGBT, Love & Romance, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 289
Format: Hardcover
Source: bought in-store
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.

About Alaya Dawn Johnson

Alaya (rhymes with “papaya”) lives, writes, cooks and (perhaps most importantly) eats in Mexico City. Her literary loves are all forms of speculative fiction, historical fiction, and the occasional highbrow novel. She plays the guitar badly and eats very well, particularly during canning season. She has published five novels for adults and young adults, including The Summer Prince, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in 2013.

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“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..

reading progress



An artist can create anywhere. (45)
It’s more than a second chance: It’s the only chance. (62)
English is so weird, I swear, it’s like singing rocks. (126)
You chose to use your own body as a canvas that no one could ignore. (136)
You can’t recapture your youth, but would you like to screw it? (159)
They should say that power has guilt and guilt has grief and no mod but death can take that away. (183)
Sometimes, in a war, your best friend is your known enemy. (193)
Maybe it’s better to let bad things happen than tear yourself apart trying to stop the inevitable. (196)
We’re walking through the mess men made of the world. (246)
Sometimes you don’t know me at all, sometimes you read me so clearly. (267)





  1. Teja

    December 22, 2014 at 5:43 AM

    The synopsis looks interesting! And the cover looks beautiful! Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll consider it.

  2. Filia Oktarina

    December 19, 2014 at 4:44 AM

    The cover book was beautiful, looks interesting story.
    Dystopian genre for me just a few, and i still haven’t got book i like from this genre. MAybe this book will be my favorite:)

  3. Megan

    December 12, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    This one sounds really interesting. And yay for diversity. I think I’ve only ever read one book set in South America, so that would be cool.

    • giselle

      December 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      It’s so good and beautiful! I love the world 😀

  4. toweroftomes

    December 12, 2014 at 10:27 AM

    That cover is gorgeous… The book sounds interesting and I like the less stereotypical themes of LGBT and people of color. DIVERSITY! Will def be picking this up sometime.

    • giselle

      December 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      It’s wonderful! I loved reading about it

  5. Cali W.

    December 12, 2014 at 2:15 AM

    Good review. I didn’t know this book was dystopian and I like that it takes place in Brazil. 🙂

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