Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
"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 on Goodreads
 Kala's Review:

I felt so sad throughout most of this book. It starts off with the main character, Anna, finally getting what she's always wanted - a kiss from her best friend's brother, Matt. Anna and Matt had this absolutely adorable first kiss and relationship, which they kept hidden from Frankie (the best friend/little sister). It's no secret that Matt dies, but I fully admit the whole time I was reading about their relationship I sat there going "please don't die, please don't die" ... it didn't work. He died. And every reference to him for the rest of the book just tore my heart out.

A year later, Anna tags along on a family vacation to the beach with Frankie and her parents. This is the first time the family has done this vacation since the death of Matt and it becomes obvious that everyone has been putting on a show and no one is completely over him. Frankie's coping mechanism has been to throw herself into attracting boys and she tells Anna that they're going to meet 20 boys on vacation with the hopes that Anna will lose her virginity to one.

The rest of the novel is mostly about the vacation, the boys, and the family (plus Anna) finally coming to terms with and dealing with the heartache and loss of Matt. It's also about Frankie and Anna and how the death of Matt has evolved their friendship into something completely different, which neither of them quite know how to handle.

I struggled through the book, not because of the writing (which was beautiful) or the characters (which were mostly well developed and compelling), but because it was just so sad. I'm not going to give it a bad rating for that, because I knew going in that it would be a depressing novel, but I tend to prefer happier novels. I see enough depressing stuff in real life.

It does have a mostly happy ending, and a realistic ending, that I appreciated. I did like the book and would definitely recommend it - just have tissues on hand.
4 out of 5 stars.

Link to Kala's review on Goodreads:

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