Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

9:51 PM

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Release Date: May 1, 2010 (paperback, first published June 1, 2009)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Source: Bought

Overall: 4 Stars

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

At first glance, Twenty Boy Summer appears to be a cute summer novel, but after flipping to the backside and reading the blurb, you'll know that won't be the case. Yes, most of the story takes place on the beach and yes, two best friends are trying to find twenty different boys for a summer fling... but the story is also so much more than that.

You see, Anna had been secretly seeing her best friend's older brother Matt. However, before Matt could tell Frankie about his and Anna's budding relationship, he suddenly dies. A year later, Frankie and her parents invite Anna to come along on their summer vacation to Zanzibar Bay, California. Frankie is determined to make this their best summer ever, attracting the attention of boys on the beach and even finding Anna her first romance. But Anna still doesn't have the heart to tell Frankie about her and Matt, so she can only secretly grieve still for him and take solace in her journal.

Within the first 50 pages, tears were welling in my eyes and the somber tone that Ockler created within a short amount of time always remained. Moments do lighten up, but really, I felt helpless for Anna because she was always trying to guide Frankie and make sure she didn't get too carried away, but I felt that no one was really there for Anna in turn. 

A novel that touches on loss and grief while infusing some teen summer goodness, Twenty Boy Summer is a novel that will stick with you once you're finished. It was certainly not what I expected when I first began reading, but that's okay, because in the end, I did enjoy the story. 

Cover Comments: I really do like this cover. A simple heart made of broken pieces of glass and a seemingly random red one, it just makes perfect sense after you've read the novel. 
You can check out Sarah Ockler's website here.

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