Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves

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Pub Date May 30 2023 | Archive Date Sep 29 2023
SOURCEBOOKS Landmark | Sourcebooks Landmark

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At turns haunting and breathtaking, Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves explores legacies of love, family, and the ghostly imprint grief leaves behind as three women face the past to bring light to an old Southern town lost deep beneath the surface.

Years ago, yellow fever gripped the small lakeside town of Prosper, Arkansas. At the height of that summer swelter, in the wake of an unexpected storm, the dam failed and the valley flooded—drowning the town and everyone trapped inside.

The secrets of old Prosper drowned with them.

Now, decades later, when a mysterious locked box is pulled from the depths of the lake, three descendants of that long-ago tragedy are hurled into another feverish summer. Cassie: the reclusive sole witness to an impossible horror no one believes. Lark: a wide-eyed dreamer haunted by bizarre visions. June: caught between longing for a fresh start and bearing witness to the ghosts of the past. Bound together, all three must contend with their home's complex history—and with the ruins of the town lost far beneath the troubled water.

At turns haunting and breathtaking, Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves explores legacies of love, family, and the ghostly imprint grief leaves behind as three women face the past to bring light to an old...

Advance Praise

"A liquid southern Gothic that laps against the land of the living until old secrets that can’t be washed away are revealed. Seductive, haunting and beautiful." ― Willa Reece, author of Wildwood Whispers

"Readers should prepare themselves to get lost in a dreamy, lush narrative, riddled with stirring subterfuge, captivating characters, and a visceral sense of place. Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves is a lyrical swarm of history, friendship, tragedy, and the limitlessness of reality. June, Lark, and Cassie are like sirens calling from a distant shore luring the reader further and further into the depths of understanding. You won't be able to put it down." ― Lo Patrick, author of The Floating Girls

"Eerie and deeply atmospheric, Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves immediately transported me to a hot, sticky lakeside summer, where the story wrapped around me, pulled me under, and wouldn't let go." ― Nichelle Giraldes, author of No Child of Mine

"Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves is pure alchemy―it breathes in a mystery and exhales magic. In Prosper, Arkansas, up is down, history is alive, fantasy is reality, grief becomes horror becomes salvation. I loved getting sucked into the slow, sticky Southern summer with these rich characters, watching helplessly as they struggle with love and loss and legacy while the past haunts them at every turn." ― Eden Robins, author of When Franny Stands Up 

"A liquid southern Gothic that laps against the land of the living until old secrets that can’t be washed away are revealed. Seductive, haunting and beautiful." ― Willa Reece, author of Wildwood...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781728263878
PRICE $16.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 162 members

Featured Reviews

Wow. I truly can’t wrap my mind around this book yet. When the book opened up with an explanation of "development-induced displacements“, I never expected to fall for a story so quickly. (Not because the topic doesn’t interest me but because it sounds so complicated.)

Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves is not a light-hearted read. It’s as deep and multi-layered, as the lake described in its story. It’s a story of ghosts, memories, letting go, loss and history.

The story is inspired by a real town - Buckville, Arkansas, which was flooded in the 1950s. We follow a set of three main characters. All of these characters share a deeper connection to Lake Prosper, which we get to explore throughout the story. We soon find out that lake Prosper is not only a pretty holiday destination but that there are ghosts of the past lurking around every corner.

If you would ask me to explain this story, I would not be able to. The story-telling and the characters were so unique and haunting, that this book felt like reading an old diary, which I loved. The set of characters is super diverse and I was able to connect to all of them on different levels.

I especially loved the author’s note in the beginning because it really gives a perspective on the importance of telling these kinds of stories. Being from Germany, it also really helped me to understand the history involved in the story.

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with this arc.

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Four friends have stolen aboard the Titanic. They're after the Rubaiyat - a book inlaid with priceless jewels. Josefa is a charismatic thief, Hinnah a daring acrobat, Violet an outstanding actress and Emilie a talented artist.

It is Josefa's plan, but she needs all of their skills. Despite their very different backgrounds, in a world of first-class passengers and suspicious crew members, the girls must work together to pull off the heist of their lives.

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Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves by Quinn Connor is a beautifully written ghost story with elements of magical realism. This book follows three main characters over the course of an Arkansas summer. Cassie is terrified of the water, but refuses to leave her lakeside hometown; Lark has come to her family's houseboat to pack it up after a traumatic event; June arrives unexpectedly in the middle of the night to stay with her aunt for a few weeks. There is also Bolt, Cassie's teenaged brother who is trying to navigate a tenuous friendship with the local trouble
I absolutely loved this book. It was ethereal and haunting, with a touch of mystery and magic. I enjoyed the multiple storylines, as each woman tries to navigate the mystery surrounding the lake they live on.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves in exchange for my honest review.

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I read a galley of this elsewhere and wanted to leave a review here too. I found this to be both intriguing and mystical. Southern gothic horror/mystery/suspense at its finest. I ate this up like cornbread.

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This book made me so invested in the characters that i read it in one sitting it was that good. I wanted to know everything. And loved how the story unfolded and i cant wait to read more from this author

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NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

A menagerie of emotions, feelings and history rolled into this fantastic book. It's told from multiple points of views and has a bit of mystery and horror rolled in. Themes of poverty, family, friendship and pandemic effects lie within. Not a tale for the faint at heart but it's worth the risk.

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I wish that I could give this book at 10/5 stars.

Quinn Connor completely transported me to Prosper Lake with their beautiful descriptive language. If I closed my eyes I found myself sitting on the back of a houseboat, the water glittering around me, cool lake water tickling my toes, bees humming overhead and a warm breeze tousling my hair.
I often choose books that are light and shallow to wedge into the cracks of my day and keep me entertained as a meander through daily mundane tasks, but this haunting story of love, heartbreak, grief and impossible choices demanded my full attention - that I was happy to give.

Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves deserves the love and affection that so many have given books like Where the Crawdads Sing - I can only hope that when it's brought to film (because it certainly deserves to be) that the directors can do it justice.

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks-Landmark for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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While this book is very much a slow-burn, it is far from lacking detail and intrigue. In fact, it's hard to really put a solid genre on this book. It reads like a contemporary fiction but with elements of a thriller, horror, queer romance, and a little bit of fantasy. It sounds like a lot, but it really works with this story.

The writing is beautiful. It is very vivid and it made me feel I was right at that lakeside experiencing the events of the story with the characters. Like I could smell the smells, feel the heat of the sun, all while drinking sweet tea with my literary neighbors. The character community ends up feeling like your community, and as the story progresses, I felt like the town's dark secrets were also my secrets.

And some of the imagery the story leaves you with truly is haunting.

The story takes place in a small lakeside town in Arkansas, and you follow the story of multiple character perspectives, and how their lives intertwine with each other and also the history of Prosper that is literally drowned beneath the lake. I will say it took over half the story for everything to start coming together, so it takes a while and some commitment to get to the flesh of it. Regardless, the writing style makes the entire journey enjoyable.

I really took my time reading this one, giving myself room to really digest the language of the book. Every chapter is packed with information and emotion, along with incredible detail, and it would be a disservice to not give it adequate time to be processed.

I can definitely see myself rereading Cicadas Sing of Summer Graves, because it's no doubt one of those books that you'll keep digging up details you missed in previous reads, which will likely continue to enrich the story.

For me, this was definitely 4.5⭐, only slightly marked down from a full score just because I feel like by the time we got to where we needed to be with the characters and the story plot, it was gearing up to end. It's a slow build up, to a plunging finale.

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I want to reread this book immediately. I want to read this book somewhere hot and humid in the summer, perhaps on the shores of the lake created by the dam that flooded my father out of the town he grew up in. There's so much to this book, from the lyrical, haunting writing that perfectly sets the tone to the characters trying to find their footing in an uncertain world. Some books just /feel/ like seasons - the temperature changes as you're reading them and the rest of the world drifts away. This one is summer, through and through. It's a hard book to review, in the end, because so much of what sticks with you is the feeling that each piece of uncovered history evokes, like trying to explain the refreshing, chilling shock of a lake in summer to someone who's never been. Other times are the feeling of drifting in that warm lake and suddenly passing over a cold spot, wondering if it was just the current or an eddy caused by rocks, or if something else happened once. It's about uncovering the history of places and weaving it into the present, of turning that knowledge into something to use moving forward. I know this one's going to stick with me for a while.

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"I, she would think, I am alive. I am so alive that it hurts. I am so alive that it's growing out of me."

If I had a nickel everytime in 2023 I read a book that dances around magic, ghosts and stale waters, which enchanted me deeply and stole my heart, I would have two nickels.
Which isn't a lot, but I don't know if I have enough hearts to be stolen.

Authors hidden behind the name Quinn Connor built a story so stale as the lake, and yet so deep as one. It's foggy and melancholic, this lives of Cassie, June and Lark, haunted by ghosts of silent relatives and forgotten history. I find it hard to describe the actual plot, not because it's complicated or badly written, quite the opposite really – with peculiar happenings and mysterious under every blade of grass it affects something deeper in reader. I genuinely recommend reaching for this title as soon as it's published, just to let its magic consume you, just to try how deep into this fairytale you can go.

"Just a dream. And yet."

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