Summer in the City of Roses

About the book:

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.



This book was a really interesting story. Unlike most books I read, this book 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.*



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