Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 166 - Twenty Boy Summer [ARC Review]

Twenty Boy Summer
Sarah Ockler

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis: [from back cover]

"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 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 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.


Sarah Ockler wastes no time jumping into her debut novel with a bang. Even though I knew Matt was going to die before I read the book, the brief spotlight time he gets in the beginning leaves a lasting impression. I remember reading the part and simply saying, "No, he can't die yet."

And I'm definitely not alone in that sense. Frankie and Anna are completely devastated by Matt's death, and a year later they are still feeling the after effects. When the annual trip that Frankie and her family takes ever summer comes up, they hesitate to go. Her parents decide that maybe it's time and invite Anna to come along. Anna is thrilled to go to the beach and all of the places Matt has often spoken to her about. I loved the conversations and closness between the two best friends as they prepared for the Absolute Best Summer Ever (A.B.S.E.) in Zanzibar Bay, California.

Frankie comes up with a brilliant idea of finding summer love. She reasons they will be there for about 27 to 28 days. Why not meet a different boy in 20 days? Anna is not up for it in her mind. She doesn't want to lose Matt and erase what her first love that she never even got to experience. But she reluctantly agrees just to keep a smile on Frankie's face. However, she has no intention of letting him go.

The Zanzibar Bay vacation is beautifully described as Frankie and her family show Anna a good time in all of their favorite spots. The trip is painful for everyone but they try to keep smiles on their faces. Frankie's parents are grieving in their own way and Sarah Ockler provides glimpses into their lives and they have to deal with after losing their son. When the trip takes a few painful turns, the girls' friendship is tested as Anna meets a new boy that she is really attracted to and Frankie continuously acts out.

The story is a very realistic portrayal of the two teenagers handling their grief, sadness, and loss and finding a way around it. I really enjoyed the novel and I think Sarah Ockler has a great future of books in store for everyone.

A part in the book that really grabbed my heart and squeezed tight:

"Other times, early on, she'd just run away and weep. Weeping is different from crying. It takes your whole body to weep, and when it's over, you feel like you don't have any bones left to hold you up." (p. 28)

Twenty Boy Summer isn't officially out until June, however I've noticed and heard that it can be found at book stores everywhere. I definitely recommend going out and getting a copy and reading this emotionally honest novel filled with truly believable characters.

I want to thank Caitlin Price from FSB Associates for sending me my ARC copy to review.


J. Kaye said...

I have this one on my wish list! :)

lilly said...

I'm glad you liked this book Mishel. I have it on my review list and I'm relieved that it's a good book to read. Thanks for the review.

Mishel said...

J.Kaye - I hope you get a copy soon!

Lilly - Thanks, I think you'll like it too =)

Kimberly said...

I too think I shall read this one (after my looooong list)!

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