Reviews for Temple Alley Summer

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

One curious boy, the ghost of a long-dead girl, a mysterious old temple, an unfinished story, and several weeks of summer vacation add up to an unforgettable adventure. Kazu and his family live in a sprawling old house in Japan. One night, Kazu is shocked to see what seems to be a ghost in a white kimono leaving the altar room. He’s even more shocked when his friends insist this girl, Akari, has always been around. Meanwhile, Kazu decides to do his summer homework project on local history, an idea sparked by an old map that labeled his street Kimyō Temple Alley, a name whose meaning implies the dead can come back to life. Kazu is led deeper into the puzzle through conversations with older community members—some of whom actively discourage his investigations—and befriending Akari and learning where she really came from. A story within a story to which Kazu and Akari seek the ending, a fantasy tale about a girl held hostage by a witch, reinforces the book’s overarching theme of living life so that you have no regrets. This imaginative tale, enchantingly written and charmingly illustrated by veteran Japanese creators for young people, has a timeless feel. Its captivating blend of humor and mystery is undergirded with real substance that will provoke deeper contemplation. Udagawa’s translation naturally and seamlessly renders the text completely accessible to non-Japanese readers. An instant classic filled with supernatural intrigue and real-world friendship. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.