Title/Author: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Year: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on June 1, 2009
Genre: YA Romance/Contemporary
Other Books by Author: Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, The Book of Broken Hearts
How I got this Book: Purchased
Summary From Goodreads: “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 Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay 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 her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.
Twenty Boy Summer was my first Sarah Ockler book. I’d heard great things about her and this book, so I decided I would give it a shot! And I am so glad I did because I loved this book! Another thing I should mention is that I read this book while I was away at the cottage with a bunch of my friends, and while I was reading this book on the beach I was trying so hard to fight the tears at some points!!!
Let me say one thing first: I love the cover of this book. Sea glass is fascinating to me, and I wish I could find a piece! I even did a manicure inspired by this book! Moving on… this book will grab your heart and threaten to break it into a million pieces, but then it will help you put it back together. The story focuses on Anna and her best friend Frankie, and their summer trip to Zanzibar Bay in California. Anna and Frankie have been best friends forever, along with Frankie’s older brother Matt. Anna had a crush on Matt for years, and then on her 15th birthday Matt shows her he feels the same way by kissing her in the kitchen while they are covered in birthday cake icing and it was just the cutest thing ever!
Me reading that scene!
Matt thinks they should keep their romance a secret for a little while because he doesn’t want to hurt his sister by making her think that things will be different between the three of them now. All we see of Matt and Anna’s relationship are flashbacks of stolen kisses and romantic moments, and the one awful moment that changed everything – the moment that Matt died.
A year after his death Frankie’s family is finally ready to head back to their usual family vacation spot – Zanzibar Bay in California. Since Frankie is still under the impression that nothing ever happened between Anna and her brother, she thinks Anna has never fallen in love or had her first romance before. To rectify this situation, Frankie comes up with the idea to meet 20 different boys this summer, in the hopes that Anna will lose her Albatross (a way awkward way of referring to her v-card)… Anna is not so into this plan, because she is still not over Matt, as evidenced by her frequent thoughts similar to:
“Dear Matt, what is the statute of limitations on feelings guilty for cheating on a ghost?”
But after meeting Sam, Anna’s feelings begin to change. She begins to really like him, despite her best efforts not to. Frankie meets Jake, Sam’s best friend and surfing buddy, and they hit it off. It’s a little to insta-love for me, but there’s a lot about Frankie we don’t know and understand until much later on in the book, which explains why she grew so attached to Jake so quickly.
I can really appreciate how well this book dealt with grief, and how if showcased every individual’s method of dealing (or not dealing) with Matt’s death. We also see Anna grow a lot throughout the month this book takes place over, and it feels very real because the story is told from Anna’s POV and we get to experience every little feeling and thought she ever has. Lastly, Sarah Ockler’s writing in this book is fantastic. Her descriptions of California, the beach, and the ocean, and even what grief feels like are beautiful, riveting, and allows you to feel like you are vacationing in Zanzibar Bay even if you’ve never stepped foot in California.
I think this sums it up
Every story is part of a whole, entire life, you know? Happy and sad and tragic and whatever, but an entire life. And books let you know them.
Katie from Katie’s Book Blog
Have you read Twenty Boy Summer? What were your thoughts on it? If you haven’t – do you think you might?