Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Book: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Published: 2009/ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA
Pages: 290 pages
Where I got it: bought at Borders
Buy It: Amazon

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 her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay 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.
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.

My thoughts: I really had no idea what Twenty Boy Summer was about before I read it, so I was pretty surprised when it started straight away by kicking me in the chest. I thought it was going to be just another summer fluff read. I was dead wrong but oh man, I loved this book! There is so much depth within the pages of this novel. After the death of Frankie's brother, best friends Anna and Frankie struggle to pick up the pieces without the third piece of their trio. Anna was keeping a big secret from everyone because she promised Matt that he would be the one to tell it, but then he died and she was left alone with that secret. A year later, Anna accompanies Frankie's family on their summer vacation to California. It's the first time the family has been back since Matt's death and we see that there is so much they have to work through upon their arrival.

Frankie has turned to clothes, makeup and boys to distract her from the void her brother has left in her life. She makes it the girls' mission to hook up with 20 boys between the two of them over the summer, and one of those boys would be the one that would take Anna's virginity (nicknamed the Albatross). Apparently this book was banned because of the promiscuous behavior. Like all books banned, this infuriates me! If the people fighting to ban it actually read and paid attention to the subject matter, they would see that Anna and Frankie were just normal teenagers faced with the pressures of high school. Anna was not even into the mission of finding a bunch of guys because she was still so hung up on Matt. These two girls were actually fairly well behaved girls all things considered. They had fun sneaking out and lying to Frankie's parents, but it was never anything too harmful. The adventures the girls had made for an epic summer that I had so much fun reading about.

The relationships in Twenty Boy Summer seemed so real to me. Frankie and Anna were opposites but they got along so well. They reminded me of me and my own best friend. I also loved getting the glimpses of Anna's memories of moments spent with Matt. Just reading about it, I got those butterflies that you get from your first love. Normally when I read a book like this that has two romantic interests, I will choose one over the other, but in this case I was so happy that Anna found Sam. He was exactly what she needed and it tugged on my heart strings how guilty she felt for being attracted to him but I couldn't blame her for feeling that way.

There were so many moments where I felt like I had to put the book down and just have a good cry but oddly enough, I never felt like it was too depressing. There was a lot of sadness but there was also plenty of happiness and points where the characters were making progress in getting on with their lives. The cover is so simplistic yet gorgeous! I've always loved beach glass and the tie-in's with the beach glass made it the perfect cover for the book. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a fast paced summer read that has more than just your typical fluff.

My rating: 4.5 stars

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