Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Who: Sarah Ockler
What: Twenty Boy Summer
Where: Little Brown for Young Readers
When: June 1st, 2009
Why: Author Love
How: Contest Win

"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 ever 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.

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.

Having read Fixing Delilah before Twenty Boy Summer, I was already expecting great things and that's what I got! Twenty Boy Summer was beautifully written, romantic, and absolutely heart-breaking.

The story revolves around Anna, who shared a secret romance with her best friend's brother. Matt made Anna promise to keep their relationship a secret from Frankie until he could tell him herself but before he got a chance too, he dies in a car accident. Anna is left with the burden of a secret she feels she can't say and while Matt's family grieves around her, she finds herself feeling like an outsider who doesn't supposed to be hurting as much as she is. Sarah writes in a way that is honest and poignant, never straying me from what this is really all about; Anna trying to move on.

Anna, to me, was someone I'd know in real life, and I love having that feeling because it just means she jumped out of the page for me. She was selfish at times, consumed in her own thoughts, but she also cared a great deal about Frankie and how the loss of her brother was affecting her and the family. Frankie, though vapid and shallow, was one of those characters that everyone knows in real life. Not talking about it was Frankie's way of coping, and while I was enraged by her at times, I understood her reactions to the things that unfolded after a while.

Anna and Sam was the perfect summer romance, and I felt Sarah intended it to be just that. I like how it wasn't two teenagers declaring love or promising to be together forever, but having a bond and sharing it over the course of a summer. It was romantic, sexy but sweet, and I believed every second of it. Matt was extremely close to my heart from all her flashbacks since the beginning, and both these boys were just fabulous.

Finally, Sarah doesn't sugarcoat the ending, which is becoming one of my favorite things about her writing. She doesn't tie the end with a neat bow, and saying how everyone is alright now, because it certainly wasn't the case. She knew and so did we, the readers, that all of them were a long way from completely being healed by Matt, and I love how she was honest about it in the end.


Happy Reading!


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