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Summer in the City of Roses

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Inspired by the Greek myth of Iphigenia and the Grimm fairy tale “Brother and Sister,” Michelle Ruiz Keil’s second novel follows two siblings torn apart and struggling to find each other in early ’90s Portland. All her life, seventeen-year-old Iph has protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But this summer, with their mother gone at an artist residency, their father d Inspired by the Greek myth of Iphigenia and the Grimm fairy tale “Brother and Sister,” Michelle Ruiz Keil’s second novel follows two siblings torn apart and struggling to find each other in early ’90s Portland. All her life, seventeen-year-old Iph has protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But this summer, with their mother gone at an artist residency, their father decides it’s time for fifteen-year-old Orr to toughen up at a wilderness boot camp. When he brings Iph to a work gala in downtown Portland and breaks the news, Orr has already been sent away. Furious at his betrayal, Iph storms off and gets lost in the maze of Old Town. Enter George, a queer Robin Hood who swoops in on a bicycle, bow and arrow at the ready, offering Iph a place to hide out while she figures out how to track down Orr. Orr, in the meantime, has escaped the camp and fallen in with The Furies, an all-girl punk band, and moves into the coat closet of their ramshackle pink house. In their first summer apart, Iph and Orr must learn to navigate their respective new spaces of music, romance, and sex work activism—and find each other to try to stop a transformation that could fracture their family forever. Told through a lens of magical realism and steeped in myth, Summer in the City of Roses is a dazzling tale about the pain and beauty of growing up.


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Inspired by the Greek myth of Iphigenia and the Grimm fairy tale “Brother and Sister,” Michelle Ruiz Keil’s second novel follows two siblings torn apart and struggling to find each other in early ’90s Portland. All her life, seventeen-year-old Iph has protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But this summer, with their mother gone at an artist residency, their father d Inspired by the Greek myth of Iphigenia and the Grimm fairy tale “Brother and Sister,” Michelle Ruiz Keil’s second novel follows two siblings torn apart and struggling to find each other in early ’90s Portland. All her life, seventeen-year-old Iph has protected her sensitive younger brother, Orr. But this summer, with their mother gone at an artist residency, their father decides it’s time for fifteen-year-old Orr to toughen up at a wilderness boot camp. When he brings Iph to a work gala in downtown Portland and breaks the news, Orr has already been sent away. Furious at his betrayal, Iph storms off and gets lost in the maze of Old Town. Enter George, a queer Robin Hood who swoops in on a bicycle, bow and arrow at the ready, offering Iph a place to hide out while she figures out how to track down Orr. Orr, in the meantime, has escaped the camp and fallen in with The Furies, an all-girl punk band, and moves into the coat closet of their ramshackle pink house. In their first summer apart, Iph and Orr must learn to navigate their respective new spaces of music, romance, and sex work activism—and find each other to try to stop a transformation that could fracture their family forever. Told through a lens of magical realism and steeped in myth, Summer in the City of Roses is a dazzling tale about the pain and beauty of growing up.

30 review for Summer in the City of Roses

  1. 4 out of 5

    Aly

    I feel weird tagging this historical because if the 90's is old, then I'm old and I don't like it! I liked the first half of this and then it kind of went downhill. Seeing Iph and Orr separated and each of them being on their own for the first time and discovering things about themselves gripped me. Both siblings found great people to help them and expanded their horizons past the wealthy, privileged lives they knew. This story has a fun cast of characters and I loved the themes of body and sex I feel weird tagging this historical because if the 90's is old, then I'm old and I don't like it! I liked the first half of this and then it kind of went downhill. Seeing Iph and Orr separated and each of them being on their own for the first time and discovering things about themselves gripped me. Both siblings found great people to help them and expanded their horizons past the wealthy, privileged lives they knew. This story has a fun cast of characters and I loved the themes of body and sex positivity. Where this lost me was when things got fantastical. There were bits here and there from the start, but they were small and fit well. Things really amped up near the end, with strange dreams and magic and I wasn't sure what was real or a vision. There was a part where a character was pregnant with her own grandmother and I just didn't understand. If the magic had been done differently and better explained, I would have liked this more. I also felt like the ending didn't resolve anything and was pretty open ended. If I knew the fairy tales this was based off of, maybe I would have understood it more. As it is, I had no idea what to expect and was thrown off when things took a wild turn. I did enjoy the beginning and seeing Portland in all it's weirdness. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to Soho Press and NetGalley for the copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm just going to say it loud and proud right now. Summer in the City of Roses was such a weird book. Don't get me wrong, the first half of it completely sucked me in and I was enjoying the adventures that Iph and Orr were going on. I was also super invested in their little reunion because of what went down in the beginning. Then I get to the half-way mark and it just kept getting weirder and weirder. It honestly probably got we I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I'm just going to say it loud and proud right now. Summer in the City of Roses was such a weird book. Don't get me wrong, the first half of it completely sucked me in and I was enjoying the adventures that Iph and Orr were going on. I was also super invested in their little reunion because of what went down in the beginning. Then I get to the half-way mark and it just kept getting weirder and weirder. It honestly probably got weird and confusing way before that part but I was so engaged that it didn't even matter to me. Once I started to realized how things weren't even making sense to me anymore.. well, that is when I was like.. Lots and lots of WTF is going on here kind of moments for me. I'm still not even sure how to understand the actual ending of this book. Things just didn't make sense to me. I tried to understand some of it but in the end.. I will just stick to not knowing anything. Overall, it was an interesting book with a weird ass ending.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ellie M

    It's the early 1990s in Portland, and siblings Iphigenia and Orestes Santos Velos are spending their summers apart for the first time after their mother has left for a three-month-long dance residency. When their father had Orr sent away to a "rehabilitation" center in the woods, Iph ran away from her dad and ended up alone in the city only to run into George, a mysterious teenager who lives on their own with their dog, Scout, and rides a bike everywhere. Iph accepts George's offer of a place to It's the early 1990s in Portland, and siblings Iphigenia and Orestes Santos Velos are spending their summers apart for the first time after their mother has left for a three-month-long dance residency. When their father had Orr sent away to a "rehabilitation" center in the woods, Iph ran away from her dad and ended up alone in the city only to run into George, a mysterious teenager who lives on their own with their dog, Scout, and rides a bike everywhere. Iph accepts George's offer of a place to stay, and soon falls in love with this new world. When Orr escapes the camp and ends up at a faraway rest stop, he meets Jane, Mika and Allison, or "the Furies," who can tell that he's run away and lets him live with them in their tiny pink house nicknamed "Penelope." Meanwhile, Iph has received the information that Orr has left the camp and is dedicated to looking for him, with the help of George and their knowledge of the city. One of the new places she comes across is Shiny Dancer, the store and organization providing resources and supplies to sex workers. From there, she learns of an upcoming benefit concert for the store that will feature the Furies, and decides to attend in case Orr shows up with them. 4.5 stars. This wasn't the fast and easy type of book I usually like to read, but I didn't have a problem with that. A lot happens at once, and I don't think a single page went by without something extremely important on it. You'll definitely have to pay close attention to this book-- it's not something you can skim. I'd previously wanted to read this author's debut novel when it came out (All of Us With Wings) but I decided not to at the last minute before it came out because I read reviews that mentioned how not okay the "romance" in it was. Well, that didn't happen in this book, and I'm so glad I gave the author another chance, because I loved the writing style. While most of it was a contemporary type story about siblings and their hopes to repair their relationship with their dad, nearly every scene was written like it was magical realism or fantasy of some kind. In the best way possible, I mean. Magical realism I'm fine with, but books that get too magical aren't my thing. And this book was still great for me-- proof that there's something for everyone there. I'm sure fans of fantasy will enjoy it as well. And when the magical realism actually happens, toward the end, it fits right in with the story. Isn't forced at all. Iph loves poetry, theater, and vintage clothing, and has recently decided that she's not going to change for anyone else, which I loved about her. Orr is quieter, likely neurodiverse, looks up to Iph regularly, and is starting to discover his talent for music by watching the Furies and their Riot Grrl culture. He even plays onstage with them once. I also liked that both of the siblings are queer, as are several other important characters in the book (George, Cait and Lorna. Lorna was actually my favorite side character.) Both of the love interests (George and Plum) were good for them, even though at times it seemed like the author was trying too hard to make Plum sound absolutely perfect. The Furies were great characters too, and I was relieved that Orr wasn't romantically attracted to any of them (they were all 24 and he was 15.) In fact, they developed a sibling-like relationship. You know I love found family. And even though found family is an important theme here, the story ends with both Iph and Orr on good terms with their parents. Getting to see their mom's backstory was also one of my favorite parts. And Iph has decided to let herself enjoy acting, without letting anyone's criticism hold her back. A protagonist who likes to perform! I rarely see this, and I was so excited to. Wherever Iph would be in 2021, I hope she succeeded in theater. The ending might make you cry. But in a happy way. So, contemporary and fantasy readers alike, please read this whenever you get the chance.

  4. 5 out of 5

    elena

    This book was fun! It's a quick, jaunty, fairytale whirl through Portland. I couldn't totally take it seriously at times, the dialogue was a little silly and the plot just felt sort of overly convenient and improbable, but I think this is great lower YA. Some of the reviews call this "dark", which it definitely isn't, especially not in tone— it covers some serious topics, but I never got the sense that the characters were in any real danger. Their problems are generally solved quickly and at the This book was fun! It's a quick, jaunty, fairytale whirl through Portland. I couldn't totally take it seriously at times, the dialogue was a little silly and the plot just felt sort of overly convenient and improbable, but I think this is great lower YA. Some of the reviews call this "dark", which it definitely isn't, especially not in tone— it covers some serious topics, but I never got the sense that the characters were in any real danger. Their problems are generally solved quickly and at the hands of kind strangers. And, I'm not knocking it for that, I don't think this book was trying to be anything else! It's a coming-of-age fairytale that tackles themes of homelessness and drug use and abuse without really asking its characters (or readers) to confront the reality of poverty. I have a lot of respect for what Ruiz Keil pulled off with the character of George. I hesitate to call George a nonbinary lesbian, because they don't use either of those words, but what I will say is that as someone who very well may be a nonbinary lesbian myself, this is the closest I've seen to someone like that in mainstream media, especially as a love interest. I was suspicious of the lack of pronouns, but it was way more subtle and well-executed than I expected, so props for that. I'd love to hear from autistic reviewers about Orr (and I'm gonna go read reviews after this lol), but I can't speak to that element myself. Overall though, Ruiz Keil seems to have put a great deal of thought and compassion into writing a diverse cast of characters. Finally, this novel has some truly lovely moments of prose, and I'd definitely pick up an adult book from Ruiz Keil if she ever released one in the future. While this book wasn't anything memorable for me, I think it's solid, and certainly admirable for what it tried to do and succeeded in doing. Thank you so much to Netgalley and Soho Teen for the opportunity to read this ARC!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Summer in the City of Roses in exchange for an honest review. This was both a lot darker and a lot trippier than I expected it to be, but once you get into the narration style it's easy to love this for all it's uniqueness. I absolutely adored the end, but I do think a combination of our two POVS being separated and the heavily metaphorical narration makes the middle drag a little bit. All in all though, this is my favourite queer Orpheus and Euryd Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of Summer in the City of Roses in exchange for an honest review. This was both a lot darker and a lot trippier than I expected it to be, but once you get into the narration style it's easy to love this for all it's uniqueness. I absolutely adored the end, but I do think a combination of our two POVS being separated and the heavily metaphorical narration makes the middle drag a little bit. All in all though, this is my favourite queer Orpheus and Eurydice retelling (that might sound like a really lackluster compliment, but I've read so many of them that I promise it isn't).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Doug Chase

    I loved Summer in the City of Roses for the journey. The regular everyday was magic, and the magic was more magic. I don’t know if such things could happen in the Portland of today, but they surely happened in the Portland of then.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lata

    If I were a little more familiar with the Grimm “Brother and Sister” fairy tale, and Iphegenia’s tale, I’d have been able to appreciate this story even more. As it was, I adored the atmosphere—author Michelle Ruiz Kiel wonderfully evoked the nineties with the mentions of things like tv shows, and the kinds of available tech. I also really got a sense of wandering through Portland’s streets as I listened to this book. Iph and Orr keep circling close to the other after Orr makes it to the city afte If I were a little more familiar with the Grimm “Brother and Sister” fairy tale, and Iphegenia’s tale, I’d have been able to appreciate this story even more. As it was, I adored the atmosphere—author Michelle Ruiz Kiel wonderfully evoked the nineties with the mentions of things like tv shows, and the kinds of available tech. I also really got a sense of wandering through Portland’s streets as I listened to this book. Iph and Orr keep circling close to the other after Orr makes it to the city after escaping from a boot camp. And ends up with a punk band. (The siblings’ father mistakenly thought a boot camp was necessary for Orr to toughen up). Iph wanders the city with a fascinating individual, George, while looking for the band, the Furies, who took Orr in. There’s a sense of the fantastic to the city and to the siblings’ interactions with others, and to the streets themselves. I think if I had read this, I would have struggled, but the audio helped me get through this sometimes confusing book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Kusby

    Summer In The City Of Roses is a fairy tale-inspired adventure that offers a refreshing, punk rock take on ‘90s Portland. The story hums with subtle magic while also sensitively addressing themes of race, drug use, trauma, and sex work. The writing is effervescent, the misfit characters are complex and relatable, and the city’s eccentricities are portrayed with necessary nuance. Grab this book and your tarot deck, head to Forest Park, and fall into a folkloric, feminist journey through the City Summer In The City Of Roses is a fairy tale-inspired adventure that offers a refreshing, punk rock take on ‘90s Portland. The story hums with subtle magic while also sensitively addressing themes of race, drug use, trauma, and sex work. The writing is effervescent, the misfit characters are complex and relatable, and the city’s eccentricities are portrayed with necessary nuance. Grab this book and your tarot deck, head to Forest Park, and fall into a folkloric, feminist journey through the City of Roses.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Opal Edgar

    I picked up this book for the wrong reasons, but aren't I glad that I did! This is a contemporary YA novel exploring family betrayal and love, anxiety, autism spectrum, LGBTQ feelings, trangender identity, family violence, prostitution, homelessness, baby blues, creativity, bohemian lifestyles and so many important and difficult subjects. So why did I pick up this book for the wrong reasons? Well, it was all for the cover. And I will honestly say that it is a little lacking, not colourful and ene I picked up this book for the wrong reasons, but aren't I glad that I did! This is a contemporary YA novel exploring family betrayal and love, anxiety, autism spectrum, LGBTQ feelings, trangender identity, family violence, prostitution, homelessness, baby blues, creativity, bohemian lifestyles and so many important and difficult subjects. So why did I pick up this book for the wrong reasons? Well, it was all for the cover. And I will honestly say that it is a little lacking, not colourful and energetic enough for the novel inside truthfully. “Summer in the City of Roses” deserves something punchy and vibrant. Sadly, I am sure that many have probably passed the cover thinking it wasn’t for them because there is something very old fashioned and peaceful and self-assured about it. It’s a real shame, it doesn’t reflect the energy and loss and wonder and growth inside. But it immediately drew me in because it portrayed one of my all time favourite writers: George Sand, the 19th century controversial French novelist: a woman who dressed as a man to be the artist she wanted to be. See for yourselves https://www.who2.com/bio/george-sand/ I thought it was only a chance event, but it made me feel so happy - no one reads George Sand, I barely managed to convince my best friend to dip a toe. But I am so glad it wasn’t a coincidence - there is a very lovable transgender character in the book called George and even if it’s nothing more than an Easter egg for a crazy wide reader like me, it was fantastic. So what is the book about? We follow Iph, a lonely girl who loves theatre and runs away from home after her father sends her too sensitive brother to boot camp. Because that’s how we make a man. The escape and search for the brother is littered in magical realism and follows loosely one of the Grimm fairytales I hadn’t known prior to reading the book: “Brother and sister”. What did I like? There is something very nostalgic about this work for me. I’m not sure how much it will talk to teens today (it shouldn’t go into too young hands anyway, I would recommend at least 16), but it talked to me who was a kid in the 90s and grew up in an artistic family, oh does it talk to me on so many of those levels... And the frustration of not having a way to communicate, mobile phones changed so many things. The fairy tale element is very interesting, I’m a sucker for it and I kept looking out for the elements of the story which I read prior to the book just for the fun of getting the references, though in no way is that necessary to get the story. The prose also very beautiful and I loved the sections of the book that were dedicated to the brother. Orr is a fantastic character to explore and his interaction with the world is fascinating. I loved his time with the Furies, and truthfully I would have loved to read a whole book about him. We don’t read enough characters on the spectrum and having his coping mechanisms, reflections, questioning, his perplexities at things was refreshing and insightful. What I was less of a fan off Truthfully I liked Iph, the sister less. She was a little too much of the “poor little rich girl” for me, though it makes sense as her journey is about discovering how sheltered she was and gaining new appreciation for life. Luckily she contains her judging and is open minded. I also found the dream sequences unnecessary. The magical realism was enough for me. I liked that, it felt subtle, just a kiss of fairytale. The dream sequences felt more heavy handed, as if the writer suddenly lost her confidence in being able to breathe enough wonder into her story. The novel worked well without. But apart from those little point the book was really wonderful and I am surprised I haven’t heard more about it and that more people didn’t pick it up. I highly recommend it to people who enjoy initiatic journeys - those books about growing up and learning about yourself. If you liked Butterflies in November (the road trip of an Icelandic woman with a deaf 5 year old across their country) or Folklorn (the story of a scientist woman trying to decipher the mysteries of her family through the Korean fairytales her mother left her) then you are sure to love Summer in the City of Roses, don’t get fooled by the YA tag. This is not for an immature audience. If you want to read more of my reviews check out my website https://opaledgar.wordpress.com/blog-2/

  10. 5 out of 5

    katie ❀

    this sounds like everything i've ever wanted... why am i only hearing about this now this sounds like everything i've ever wanted... why am i only hearing about this now

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andria Sedig

    This was a really interesting book to read that deals with a lot of heavy topics. It's worth noting that prostitution, dildos, drug abuse, homelessness, etc are discussed throughout the book and that one of the protagonist's stories opens with him being kidnapped and taken to a boot camp. These topics might not be suitable for everyone in the YA category, so this is just something to keep in mind. Overall, I enjoyed the story but did find the ending a little too abstract for my personal tastes. This was a really interesting book to read that deals with a lot of heavy topics. It's worth noting that prostitution, dildos, drug abuse, homelessness, etc are discussed throughout the book and that one of the protagonist's stories opens with him being kidnapped and taken to a boot camp. These topics might not be suitable for everyone in the YA category, so this is just something to keep in mind. Overall, I enjoyed the story but did find the ending a little too abstract for my personal tastes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eule Luftschloss

    trigger warning (view spoiler)[ boot camp, kidnapping, grief, homelessnes, drug addiction, mention of rape, mention of suicide, being orphaned, racism, misogyny, self harm (hide spoiler)] Iphigenia is shocked when she finds out the real reason for her fathers suspiciously generous decision to go and dine with her: It's so her brother can be kidnapped and placed into a bootcamp. Enraged, she flees the scenes and wanders through Portland. Meanwhile, her brother manages to escape the bootcamp, and is trigger warning (view spoiler)[ boot camp, kidnapping, grief, homelessnes, drug addiction, mention of rape, mention of suicide, being orphaned, racism, misogyny, self harm (hide spoiler)] Iphigenia is shocked when she finds out the real reason for her fathers suspiciously generous decision to go and dine with her: It's so her brother can be kidnapped and placed into a bootcamp. Enraged, she flees the scenes and wanders through Portland. Meanwhile, her brother manages to escape the bootcamp, and is adopted by an all-female punk band. The beginning is a lot of plot in one chunk, but only to set the scene. Afterwards, the novel gets characterdriven, and for once, I was fine with it. Every single character is interesting. Well, the protagonist's father is interestingly revolting, but interesting nonetheless. This book is set in the 1990-ies, but the main issue is that there is no mobile communication. Apart from that, it could be set anytime, really, as long as there is an active punk scene. Both protagonists have their own chapters, and since they share the same parents, both deal with being biracial: Their mother is Mexican while their father is Greek, and they have this weird and normal thing where they feel between all cultures. On top of that, I suspect that Orr is on the autism spectrum. He is never called an autist, but the description fits, the meltdowns, how the world sometimes is simply too much, his ways of coping with that - which is what makes his father think the best decision is boot camp. Similiarly, the person Iph meets is never called non binary, but is described without use of pronouns. Said person is George, and through George we meet a lot of people in Portland not everybody would want to see. The homeless, the sex worker, the drug addicts. George helps out in the local needle exchange, and thus we meet some more awesome characters. Then, suddenly, from what felt like a road trip despite them being in one place, there is magical realism and it went from nil to 100 in a very, very short time which was weird, and unexpected, but I liked it. I am sure I'll find my mind drifting back to these fictional people a lot and I am curious about other works by the same author, if there are any. This was simply beautiful. In some places, it hurt, but not too much to have to quit, and then I was invested. The arc was provided by the publisher.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Bain

    I wrapped up this gem today and my goodness, it was not what I expected. But it was lovely. The setting is early 90s Portland, Oregon. Biracial siblings, Iph and Orr are left alone with their father for the summer while their mother attends an artist dance residency. Things unravel when their father has Orr kidnapped and sent to boot camp. In response, Iph runs away from her sheltered suburban life in search of her brother who has escaped the boot camp and is now missing in the streets of Portla I wrapped up this gem today and my goodness, it was not what I expected. But it was lovely. The setting is early 90s Portland, Oregon. Biracial siblings, Iph and Orr are left alone with their father for the summer while their mother attends an artist dance residency. Things unravel when their father has Orr kidnapped and sent to boot camp. In response, Iph runs away from her sheltered suburban life in search of her brother who has escaped the boot camp and is now missing in the streets of Portland. Iph is aided by hew very own “Robin Hood” in the form of gender-queer George and George’s picket pittie. Meanwhile, Orr, who is neurodivergent and has difficulty breaking from his routine, finds refuge with the all-girl punk band The Furies. This is a coming of age take unlike anything you’ve ever read. It deals with some heavy topics as the siblings navigate homelessness, drug use, homophobia, sex-work activism, and child abuse, their own sexuality and budding romances. Despite this, the book is lighthearted and heartwarming. The book and it’s narrators are nonjudgmental almost past the point of believability. But I enjoyed it. It drips with magical realism, folklore, feminism, zines, and RIOT GIRRRL 90s nostalgia. This book also made me extremely homesick for Oregon. Anyway, I highly recommend.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lia Holland

    I was barely old enough to taste the Portland that Michelle Ruiz Keil so magically captures in this book, and yet every time I think about it the nostalgia hits me like a wave. Weeks after I finished it, I still wonder what's happening next with George and Iph, want to beg them to let me tag along on one more bike ride. Just like Michelle's first book, All of Us with Wings, the best part for me was how she wove two seemingly opposed magics together to put the heart in this story—the sparkling ma I was barely old enough to taste the Portland that Michelle Ruiz Keil so magically captures in this book, and yet every time I think about it the nostalgia hits me like a wave. Weeks after I finished it, I still wonder what's happening next with George and Iph, want to beg them to let me tag along on one more bike ride. Just like Michelle's first book, All of Us with Wings, the best part for me was how she wove two seemingly opposed magics together to put the heart in this story—the sparkling magical world we all wish for in which field mice cut our bonds and stags play tree-cello, and the magic of the deep realness of being young and human in an imperfect world. I hope more and more YA is written to bridge this gap, to help young people and those without the life experience see the beautiful in what we've been taught is only ugly—and the humanity of those whose lives took a different turn than our own. As to the ending, which seems to bother some because it fully embraced the untamedness of old myth, I loved it. I don't need my stories to nail down every loose end. That's not what our lives are like, the sort of fairytale we've had enough of because it's a false promise. This felt a lot realer and more healing than happily ever after. When's the next book, Michelle? No pressure but I'm definitely waiting for it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Richmond

    This book was so good! I was totally immersed in the punk and runaway type of scene. I loved the dual perspectives that the characters brought to the table. I was just going with the flow and then the author threw me into a new universe. I was not expecting it to happen so close to the end, but it did make so much sense why they did. This was such a new concept to explore in a novel and I am here for it! I loved the idea of running away and then having to find your own voice and life with the pe This book was so good! I was totally immersed in the punk and runaway type of scene. I loved the dual perspectives that the characters brought to the table. I was just going with the flow and then the author threw me into a new universe. I was not expecting it to happen so close to the end, but it did make so much sense why they did. This was such a new concept to explore in a novel and I am here for it! I loved the idea of running away and then having to find your own voice and life with the people and circumstances that come your way out in the real world. I was so shocked as I was going through this book at the cultural elements that the author put into this piece. It involved fairy tales and folklore that I didn't know, so it was super refreshing to hear about those. I did get lost a bit through the story, but the characters brought me right back up to speed. 4/5 stars! Totally and completely recommend for those who love runaway adventures and a mystical side to their books! **I was given a copy through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Allison Williams

    Summer in the City of Roses drew me in like a labyrinth--not a maze with guessing, but a twisty path that is nonetheless clear. Follow it, be rewarded. The details the author uses to show the characters are unexpected but bewitching--who is this person? Why are they doing that?--but the characters themselves are vulnerable and open and make me want to find out what happens to them, what they make happen. The language is clear, the concepts made me think. The mythology underneath is strong enough Summer in the City of Roses drew me in like a labyrinth--not a maze with guessing, but a twisty path that is nonetheless clear. Follow it, be rewarded. The details the author uses to show the characters are unexpected but bewitching--who is this person? Why are they doing that?--but the characters themselves are vulnerable and open and make me want to find out what happens to them, what they make happen. The language is clear, the concepts made me think. The mythology underneath is strong enough to show new meaning in the old stories, but she's not afraid to depart from the myths and make new paths. And I wish I had a sibling bond like Iph and Orr's. A beautiful, brilliant book that isn't necessarily a lie-back-and-relax read, but one where the journey pays off in moments that make me glad I had to pay close attention. Well done--heading back to reread All of Us With Wings now!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chantal

    Honestly this was the best thing for me especially as a blind pick. It was addicting with pleasant surprise to have my favorite genre in it with a bit of a fairytale retelling. The amount of queerness and brown representation this book made me feel beyond seen. It touches on things that need to be touch on. I honestly wish I could tell the author thank you which I guess is what I am doing with this review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    This book took a decided turn into the magical realm that I wasn't expecting—and honestly decreased my enjoyment of the entire thing. Had the two parts been better integrated, I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more. Full review to come, but you can check out a teaser mini-review over on the Forever Young Adult Instagram. This book took a decided turn into the magical realm that I wasn't expecting—and honestly decreased my enjoyment of the entire thing. Had the two parts been better integrated, I would have enjoyed it a whole lot more. Full review to come, but you can check out a teaser mini-review over on the Forever Young Adult Instagram.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Trigger Warning Database

    Trigger & Content Warnings Racism Transmisia Deadnaming Conversion therapy Sexual assault mentioned Suicide mentioned Post-partum depression Substance addiction Overdose mentioned Kidnapping Animal abuse

  20. 4 out of 5

    Megan Graves

    I really liked the writing. I enjoyed the setting and the characters a lot. It was a good story and interesting enough to keep me reading. The magical realism was a bit unexpected and it didn’t work well for me.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    reread 9/14/21: this book both went back in time and saw and healed parts of my isolated, neurodivergent, homeschooled child self, and sang to the heart of the queer leftist who loves bits of surrealism and brother-sister stories that self grew into. instagram review: 90s Portland vibrant with a sister and brother in the world of feminist punks and fairy tales, tarot and deer and dogs, shakespeare and queerness and growing up, the secret of roan inish and sleepytime tea, AN ENBY ROBIN HOOD ON A BI reread 9/14/21: this book both went back in time and saw and healed parts of my isolated, neurodivergent, homeschooled child self, and sang to the heart of the queer leftist who loves bits of surrealism and brother-sister stories that self grew into. instagram review: 90s Portland vibrant with a sister and brother in the world of feminist punks and fairy tales, tarot and deer and dogs, shakespeare and queerness and growing up, the secret of roan inish and sleepytime tea, AN ENBY ROBIN HOOD ON A BIKE, Mexican ballads and Greek myth, letting go and coming together…. seriously my new favorite book and maybe the best comp title i’ve found to my own novel?? first read 8/15/21: oh my FUCKING god .... more coherent review later but i ADORE this

  22. 5 out of 5

    caro(lee)na

    I don’t know what I was expecting when I started reading this, but I definitely didn’t think I would like it this much. I have literally never read anything like this book and I loved it. The ending was weird but in a beautiful way and the writing was just *chef’s kiss*. I loved that it was a diverse historical fiction because the genre is mostly white and cishet. I’m sorry for everyone who knows me because i’ll never stop recommending it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Berni Phillips

    This book had promise, but is rather a mess. I read it thinking it was a modern retelling of the Greek story of Iphigenia. Not really. Ifphigenina, Iph, is the older sister of Orestes, Orr. Their dad's Greek and their mom Hispanic. The book starts with the father's action qualifying him for Worst Father Ever award. Iph has run away, leaving her purse and her glasses at the hotel where her father had taken her to some banquet. He chose then and there to tell her that her little brother was being ta This book had promise, but is rather a mess. I read it thinking it was a modern retelling of the Greek story of Iphigenia. Not really. Ifphigenina, Iph, is the older sister of Orestes, Orr. Their dad's Greek and their mom Hispanic. The book starts with the father's action qualifying him for Worst Father Ever award. Iph has run away, leaving her purse and her glasses at the hotel where her father had taken her to some banquet. He chose then and there to tell her that her little brother was being taken to one of camps where they try to change kids into something they're not. He chose when the time when his wife would be gone for three months to do this, not discussing this with her evidently. Not exactly a candidate for Husband of the Year, either. While they were at the hotel, men came in and kidnapped Orr, putting a bag over his head, tying him up, and taking him to some wilderness camp where they verbally abused him and shaved his head. Orr had very long hair. This is the first major problem in the book. We already know that Orr is different and is seeing a therapist. No diagnosis is given the reader, but his actions just scream autism: he has melt downs, he has problem with being over stimulated by too much sensory input, he obsesses about things, etc. This book is supposed to be set in 1990s Portland, but even then, treating an autistic child in such a manner is outrageous. (And I guess you're supposed to guess the era from the context, which is bizarre. Sure, there is talk of riot girls and grunge. No date is ever given that I could find - and I went back to look for it.) Orr is left alone in a tent, tied up, and manages to escape with the help of a mouse escaped from a Disney movie. Seriously. The mouse chews through the ropes for him. Orr is further aided by wild animals until he meets up with a young woman who is in a band. A band called The Furies. At this point I'm still onboard with all this stuff as it keeps referring to Greek mythology. (One of the brutes at the camp is likened to a minotaur.) So both of Greek daddy's kids are missing and he doesn't seem to care. Iph goes back to the hotel to look for him and he's gone. No message left for her or anything. Her purse and glasses have not been turned in there so she has nothing and can't see clearly. At the hotel, they allow her to use the phone so she can call home. No answer. I'm sorry, but I found all of this highly unbelievable. About three-quarters of the way through, the book shift from its Greek them to what the author says is magic realism, but it's fantasy with a very British isles feel to me - rather out of place, like it was from a different book. I didn't think the ending was very believable either. Give this one a pass.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michathebibliophile

    "Pause point - a time where we can either open the door to something new or close it against something unwanted." - Michelle Ruiz Keil, Summer in the City of Roses Trigger Warnings: drugs, smoking, suicide, death, homelessness, prostitution, family violence, abuse I think one of the most meaningful ways to spend your summer this year (and let's face it any year) is reading. To me, summer is all about challenging yourself, finding new adventures, and creating new memories...it's about family and fr "Pause point - a time where we can either open the door to something new or close it against something unwanted." - Michelle Ruiz Keil, Summer in the City of Roses Trigger Warnings: drugs, smoking, suicide, death, homelessness, prostitution, family violence, abuse I think one of the most meaningful ways to spend your summer this year (and let's face it any year) is reading. To me, summer is all about challenging yourself, finding new adventures, and creating new memories...it's about family and friends. I found this and more in Michelle Ruiz Keil's new book! Summer in the City of Roses was just what I needed to make this year's summer unforgettable. Now while I wasn't able to physically go anywhere due to the global pandemic we are still facing, reading this book allowed me to take off and rediscover a city I've been to in a new light. Summer in the City of Roses is poignant, lyrical, and nostalgic. It celebrates the journey of not only finding, but learning to accept yourself in a world with people that won't. Keil's second novel follows two siblings, Iph and Orr, who become separated due to their father's misguided, but well-meaning sense of doing what he thinks is best for his son...i.e. sending him to a boot camp for the summer to make him "a man". Angered at the deception and betrayal her father has done, Iph runs away and begins her quest to rescue her brother with the help of gender-queer “Robin Hood” aka George. Meanwhile, Orr is on a journey to find his way back to his sister and at the same time, he discovers so much about himself while making his way through the backdrop of the 90's Portland, Oregon with a group of eclectic and exquisite characters belonging to an all-girl punk band, The Furies. I am sad and shocked that this amazing book is not as well-talked about on social media. This story...what can I say? So much! It is unusual but extraordinary...and it is so achingly sad but encouraging and heartwarming. Everything about this is Summer for me. I enjoyed the many Shakespeare, punk music, Greek mythology, and Mexican culture interwoven into the dual storylines. I especially love the strong bond between the two siblings and how that bond only seems to grow stronger despite the distance between them. I am reminded of my bond with my siblings and how fortunate I am to have them in my life. Thank you to Netgalley and Soho Teen for gifting me with an eARC of this esoteric tale of what it means to grow up and just be yourself. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait to see what this author will come up with next.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: kidnap, implied conversion therapy, mentioned post-partum depression, implied familial abuse, mentions of sex worker assault & rape, racist comments, drug addiction & mentioned overdose, abusive relationships, deadnaming & transphobic comments, animal abuse, mentioned suicide 4.5 When their mother leaves, siblings Iph and Orr find themselves separated. Orr has been taken against his will, sent to a boot camp to stamp out the things his father wishes he wasn' I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: kidnap, implied conversion therapy, mentioned post-partum depression, implied familial abuse, mentions of sex worker assault & rape, racist comments, drug addiction & mentioned overdose, abusive relationships, deadnaming & transphobic comments, animal abuse, mentioned suicide 4.5 When their mother leaves, siblings Iph and Orr find themselves separated. Orr has been taken against his will, sent to a boot camp to stamp out the things his father wishes he wasn't. And Iph has run away, searching for him and finding everything else. Apart, but in the same city, they are both looking for each other and themselves. This novel feels like a dream, and also feels like a timeless fairy tale. The integration of different stories over top the blending of Brother & Sister and Greek mythos (both of which I recommend looking up before reading if, you don't know them already) gives this story layers upon layers of magic before the magic even shows itself. The writing of this story is so poetic and intangible that it almost feels like a hazy summer day. I love the way Ruiz Keil writes, the lush descriptions and careful internal monologue, it toes the line of poetry and exploration beautifully. I also absolutely love the way fairytales are references throughout. The fact that all these stories are invoked so casually but meaningfully is so well done. And I really enjoyed myself, as I looked for the touchstones of the original fairy tale and myth that was being adapted overall. The diversity in this book is phenomenal. So much of this cast is made up of people of color, without it ever feeling like it was trying to prove anything. It was as seamless and easy as actual life. I can say the same about the queerness. Both siblings are queer, as well as some of the secondary cast, but the character I'm most taken with is George. A half-Japanese, gender questioning masc homeless teen who quotes Shakespeare may sound hard to wrap your head around, or like it may be an over the top character, but somehow George is written perfectly. He is, hands down, my favorite character. I also appreciate the way Orr's neurodivergence was handled, though I have some questions about the meaning of the ending in that regard. And I love the casual acceptance of sex workers, and the education on the well being of sex workers and otherwise homeless people. The romance is a little iffy for me. The clear good is that I love George, as I said, and I don't have anything against the romance with him. And I like, for the most part, the way that their relationship is handled when it comes to George's ex. But there were moments with that that felt a bit unnecessary. And Orr's romance didn't feel organic to me. The magic is lovely, though I'm not exactly sure what the meaning was of all of it. I also am not entirely sure what I'm supposed to make of their father, though that may be on purpose. All in all, this is an almost intangible feeling, magical book of self exploration and self realization.

  26. 4 out of 5

    McKenzie

    This book had a much darker tone than I was prepared for after reading the blurb. I was hoping from something with a whimsical chaotic energy, which this had a bit of, but not to the extent that I was hoping for. There were so many serious and sensitive topics discussed within the story and I think it would benefit from having content warnings at the beginning. There are scenes and discussions around drug abuse, physical and emotional abuse, homelessness, kidnapping and a few other things. I per This book had a much darker tone than I was prepared for after reading the blurb. I was hoping from something with a whimsical chaotic energy, which this had a bit of, but not to the extent that I was hoping for. There were so many serious and sensitive topics discussed within the story and I think it would benefit from having content warnings at the beginning. There are scenes and discussions around drug abuse, physical and emotional abuse, homelessness, kidnapping and a few other things. I personally didn't feel triggered, but I think that some serious thought should be considered about including content warnings for others. The story itself failed to capture my interest. I didn't like Iph. I found her to be pretty obnoxious as a character. However, I liked Orr a lot more. I really appreciate quieter and neurodiverse characters. I appreciate magical realism in books, but this one skirted just on the border of too weird for me and I like to think that I have a pretty high tolerance for this sort of thing. I don't want to go into too much detail and ruin it for someone, but sometimes it was hard to tell what was real and what was a dream. I personally prefer my magical realism without such... vivid dream sequences. Overall, I think that readers looking for what was described in the blurb, but a little heavier than it implied will be quite happy. It just didn't work for me unfortunately. Thank you to NetGalley and Soho Teen for providing me with an eARC of this book, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    GivernyReads

    Actual Rating: 3.5 This book was a really interesting story. Unlike most books I read it combined fantasy and realism in one book. I loved this as a fan of both genres. The book really started out great. I loved how the author switched between Orr and Iph's POV. It made reading this book interesting and fun. You learnt how both characters got into their situations, but the author made you guess how the siblings would find each other or if they would even find each other. I loved the plot developm Actual Rating: 3.5 This book was a really interesting story. Unlike most books I read it combined fantasy and realism in one book. I loved this as a fan of both genres. The book really started out great. I loved how the author switched between Orr and Iph's POV. It made reading this book interesting and fun. You learnt how both characters got into their situations, but the author made you guess how the siblings would find each other or if they would even find each other. I loved the plot development in this book. The book kept you guessing what would happen next. It was full of plot twists and made this book a page-turner. However, the last few chapters were a bit confusing. I loved how the author added fantasy to this book in the beginning, but it felt as if the book was being drowned in fantasy towards the end. The character development in this book was fantastic. I loved how both Orr and Iph learnt how to grow as characters while they had their adventures. There was a lot of depth in each character and it was easy to be taken on an emotional roller coaster. Overall, I really loved reading this book. The author wrote an amazing book filled with emotion. However, I would have loved to have seen the last few chapters done differently. *I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. Thank you to Soho Press for the copy.*

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cece

    Thank you to Soho Teen for the Advance Readers Copy Summer in the City of Roses is a collage of Greek mythology, Shakespeare, fairytale, and 90s punk, held together in a frame that is beautifully crafted. Utterly captivating. Keil does not shy away from the sometimes painful truths of being a teen in crisis. Simply put, a captivating story. Michelle Ruiz Keil brilliantly writes a thought-provoking and magical story that readers will be instantly drawn to. Pulling from various threads, Keil weaves t Thank you to Soho Teen for the Advance Readers Copy Summer in the City of Roses is a collage of Greek mythology, Shakespeare, fairytale, and 90s punk, held together in a frame that is beautifully crafted. Utterly captivating. Keil does not shy away from the sometimes painful truths of being a teen in crisis. Simply put, a captivating story. Michelle Ruiz Keil brilliantly writes a thought-provoking and magical story that readers will be instantly drawn to. Pulling from various threads, Keil weaves together Greek mythology, fairytale, and magical realism in a way that makes this story a profound. Two siblings forced onto separate paths, yet each finding who they are the more they fall into the rabbit whole that fate has crafted for them. Lush and enchanting writing, Keil’s interspersing of magical realism literally takes the novel into its own mystical realm. And the pulse of this story is a strong one, where the 90’s music scene enhances its thrumming beat. Creating a cacophony of syncopated sound and rhythm. Check out my full review and book rec's on my blog: https://sheafandink.com/2021/06/19/su... Enjoy my reviews? Consider supporting my blog: https://ko-fi.com/sheafandink

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Paz

    The story is about Iph and Orr, Iph a seventeen year old girl who along with her mom, they are always protecting her younger brother Orr, he is a bit odd and closed off to the world. When their mother goes to a dance residency for a few months, their dad takes this as an opportunity to have Orr taken to a camp so he can “toughen up”. Once Iph finds out she runs away and searches for Orr. Orr manages to escape the camp and is found by a punk all girl band that takes him in. Both siblings go on a The story is about Iph and Orr, Iph a seventeen year old girl who along with her mom, they are always protecting her younger brother Orr, he is a bit odd and closed off to the world. When their mother goes to a dance residency for a few months, their dad takes this as an opportunity to have Orr taken to a camp so he can “toughen up”. Once Iph finds out she runs away and searches for Orr. Orr manages to escape the camp and is found by a punk all girl band that takes him in. Both siblings go on a journey to find each other and try to repair their small family before it's too late. I'm sad to say that I DNF this book, I was 45% into it and I just couldn't get into it. It could be because I was more excited for other books that I had, maybe. The writing is good, it has so much detail and a very character base. Every thought that each of the siblings had would take us to a reference from their life or their mom and I get at the beginning to get to know these characters but it became too much for me. There are a few deep topics, like abuse and prostitution but it touched it lightly and with delicacy. I really loved the cover and the synopsis seemed interesting enough but it wasn't my cup of tea.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Samantha- The Paperback Collector

    I have been trying to read this book for two months and though I usually stick out a book for better or for worse, this is one I unfortunately have to give up on. The writing is beautiful, poetic, evocative, highly descriptive, but its intense description is sometimes so detailed and so precise that you have to stop and reread, pause and wonder at its true meaning, and oftentimes lose track of the plot in the process. Though told in 3rd person subjective, the characters felt eternally at a dista I have been trying to read this book for two months and though I usually stick out a book for better or for worse, this is one I unfortunately have to give up on. The writing is beautiful, poetic, evocative, highly descriptive, but its intense description is sometimes so detailed and so precise that you have to stop and reread, pause and wonder at its true meaning, and oftentimes lose track of the plot in the process. Though told in 3rd person subjective, the characters felt eternally at a distance, as if I was watching their story through a foggy glass; they never felt REAL. I cannot begin to tell you how confused I was by the events of this novel, and each additional chapter only served to confuse me further. After reading through a plethora of reviews, most adoring, some questioning like me, I came to the conclusion that the darker subject material and content warnings -- combined with my own inability to decipher the story -- make this book a bad fit for a reader like myself. I am, however, very interested in the author's other works. As I said, the prose is gorgeous, and the idea of fairytales blended with Greek mythology is right up my alley; this just isn't the retelling for me. DNF at 20%. *Special thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an e-arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!*

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