Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler is a summer read that is able to balance fluff with heavy topics. I enjoyed the leisure atmosphere of the vacation as well as the main character’s dynamic characterization. I also appreciated the nuance with which the author writes about grief. This is an enticing read that is realistic and easy to connect with.Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
"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.
Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
This book follows two best friends on vacation who plan to each have a summer fling by meeting twenty different boys during their trip. Anna goes along with it, but she has a secret: she was dating her best friend’s brother, but he passed away just before they could share the news with Frankie. This tension was interesting to read about, and the way memories of Matt were included add a lot to the story. I wasn’t convinced I would be able to sympathize with this because his death happens so early in the story that he isn’t fully characterized, but the author does a great job showing the effects of his death on Anna and allowing the reader to fully understand the weight of what could have been.
❀ Genuine Main Character
I enjoyed Anna’s character. She is genuinely caring and loyal to her friends. Anna is always there for Frankie even though she isn’t okay herself, and I really sympathized with her because of this reluctance to ask for help. She is so strong, but she doesn’t need to be that strong all the time. Ultimately, I liked Anna’s voice, and I thought she was a dynamic character.
❀ Realistic Book
One of my favourite parts about this book is the way it is written and the way the author handles grief. The book has its tragic moments, and I liked how the sadness the main character feels is not discounted. Anna still misses Matt, but she is also able to find happiness in her life with another boy while acknowledging the pain she feels. There was a good level of nuance to this book, and this is part of what makes it so realistic.
❀ Cute and Emotional
Twenty Boy Summer is a contemporary that is both cute and emotional. I enjoyed the suspense of waiting for Frankie to learn the truth, and the main character is complex. I also found the way the author addresses the more serious topics of the book to be well done. I would recommend this to those looking for a more serious summer read that still has moments of fun.