Samurai Summer

Samurai Summer

4.0 1
by Åke Edwardson, Per Carlsson, Nick Podehl

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Tommy has given himself a new name — Kenny — from the Japanese ken, meaning sword. It’s a good samurai name. A warrior’s name.

This summer at camp — a camp for kids who are not wanted at home — Kenny and his friends need all the samurai cunning and strength they can muster. They have declared a war — between themselves and the


Tommy has given himself a new name — Kenny — from the Japanese ken, meaning sword. It’s a good samurai name. A warrior’s name.

This summer at camp — a camp for kids who are not wanted at home — Kenny and his friends need all the samurai cunning and strength they can muster. They have declared a war — between themselves and the camp’s sadistic overseer, Matron, and her adult son, Christian, who secretly stalks one of the girls. Covertly building a samurai castle in the woods, Kenny and his motley band of warriors strategize their attack and eventual escape.

But then things go horribly wrong.

How Kenny and the others find the will and strength they need to stand up for one another, for themselves, and for what’s right is the heart of this dramatic, unforgettable story. Readers will be forever changed by Kenny’s samurai summer — the summer he recaptures his dreams and learns the cost of truth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This dark and gritty coming-of-age thriller is crime novelist Edwardson's YA debut. Trapped in a Swedish summer camp run by sadistic adults, where the conditions are horrible and the food is almost inedible, 12-year-old Kenny copes by adopting the way of the samurai, following a code of honor and internal discipline as he leads his friends in building a secret castle in the woods. As tension rises in the camp, Kenny engages in a battle of wills with the tyrannical Matron, which leads to a dramatic showdown that changes the camp forever. An air of ambiguity and uncertainty dominates this psychological drama, and the conflict between campers and authority is constructed through stark, almost cinematic scenes. However, Edwardson's prose is often cold and stilted, leading to moments of emotional disconnect and narrative distance that keep readers at arm's length. The time (the 1960s) and setting are never stated explicitly, which may further alienate the audience. Ages 12–up. Agent: Peter Riva, International Transactions. (June)
VOYA - Mark Flowers
In his young adult debut, seasoned Swedish crime novelist Edwardson has created an indelible character in Kenny, a young man who has renamed himself Tommy in honor of the Japanese word for sword, and who has committed himself to the Samurai code of honor. In his last year attending his despised summer camp, Kenny and a small band of soldier friends work feverishly to complete a castle in the forest—a seemingly deliberately quixotic effort. His building plans are delayed as he develops a tentative relationship with Kerstin, a strange and sensitive girl who understands Kenny better than his "soldiers" do. But the summer unravels quickly as Kenny—buoyed by vague but possibly supernatural visions of the future—becomes increasingly resistant to the camp matron and her sadistic methods. As camp life for Kenny becomes more unbearable, the novel may recall Sachar's Holes (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1998/Voya December 1998) or (even more ominously) Golding's The Lord Of The Flies, but at heart, Edwardson's message is closer to Black's Doll Bones (Margaret K. McElderry, 2013) in its nearly desperate plea for the importance of childhood play and imagination. The always-unfinished castle, Kenny's strange visions, and Edwardson's contemplative prose—which, in the tradition of many Scandinavian writers, opens up a distance between the reader and the novel's events—all conspire to give the novel an unsettling mood, which some readers may find alienating. But for readers willing to give in to the novel's mood, Edwardson's rich characters, themes, and prose reward deep reflection and practically demand rereading. Reviewer: Mark Flowers
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 5–8—Edwardson's tale (Skyscape, 2013) has been translated from the Swedish by Per Carlsson, but listeners won't notice the foreign venue except for some unusual names. Twelve-year-old Kenny is at a camp for poor kids where the food is awful and the counselors are unfriendly. A self-schooled student of Japanese warriors, he leads a troop of samurai building a castle in the woods. Kenny is a hero coming of age, full of compassion and reckless pride. His troop is at war not only with a rival gang but also with the grown-ups, especially Matron. Kenny befriends Kerstin, a clever and funny girl, when she's upset after her parents visit. They are building a cautious friendship, but then Matron's son does something that causes Kerstin to run away. What begins as a typical tale of camp angst turns into a tense stand-off. Nick Podehl does an outstanding job voicing all the characters, from Sausage, Kenny's cowed protégé, to Matron, the evil authority figure. Upbeat music bookends each CD. This is a great listen for boys, especially those who hated being sent to summer camp. The plot has tension, depth, and a champion worth cheering for.—C.A. Fehmel, St. Louis County Library, MO

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Åke Edwardson is a Swedish author of novels, short stories, plays, detective fiction, and is a three-time winner of the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy Award for best crime novel. Set in Sweden in the early 1960s, Samurai Summer is Edwardson’s first novel for teens.

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Samurai Summer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
goode2shews_74 More than 1 year ago
Samurai Summer is a coming of age story set in a Swedish Summer Camp in the 60s. Kenny is the main character, who is 12 years old and will be too old to return to the camp after this, his final summer. Kenny considers himself a samurai and is the leader of his group of friends who are his samurai in training. There is a war going on between the kids and the adults who run the camp, and Kenny and his friends are determined to win. As the story transpires, tension builds along with foreshadowing, reeling the reader in for the grand finale.