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 ...
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 their father brings Iph to a work gala in downtown Portland and breaks the news, Orr has already been sent away against his will. Furious at her father’s 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 tracks 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 before a fantastical transformation fractures 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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“A gorgeous, tender, warm-hearted reworking of mythic material that also feels resolutely set in the world that we live in.”
—Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
“Michelle Ruiz Keil has crafted an absolute stunner of a novel full of myths and misfits. Summer in the City of Roses pulses with magic and music and is, at its core, a grand celebration of love in all its tricky and beautiful forms.”
—Samantha Mabry, author of All the Wind in the World and Tigers, Not Daughters
“Two siblings try to find each other in this queer and feminist journey...Set in the early ’90s, this novel with mythological influences captures the mystical, feminist wonder of the City of Roses’ underground scene. Through its enchanting, dual storylines, readers spend considerable time with Iph’s and Orr’s inner thoughts, making this an intimate and observant character study...Quirky, contemplative, and nostalgic.”
“Though no wicked stepmothers or Greek gods inhabit the world of this surreal, magical realist tale set in 1990s Portland, Ore., Keil (All of Us with Wings) steeps the narrative in fairy tale and myth...With ample ’90s references and an empathic, feminist bent, Keil brings a past incarnation of Portland to life in vivid detail...A nostalgic, heady read perfect for a summer day.”
“Summer in the City of Roses is riveting, singular, poetic, powerful, fierce, soft, heartbreaking, and heart-mending, as tender as velvet and sharp as the bloody antler underneath. Michelle Ruiz Keil is the Erin Morgenstern of YA.”
—Delilah Dawson, author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: PHASMA and coauthor of the Tales of Pell
“Michelle Ruiz Keil's writing sparkles with magic and imagination. Rich with references to such diverse subjects as Shakespeare, punk music, Greek mythology and Mexican culture, Summer in the City of Roses is a smart page-turner written with elegance and depth. Keep your eyes open. In this particular City of Roses, things aren't exactly as they seem—in surprising and wondrous ways.”