"Twenty Boy Summer"
Synopsis: "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.
I am going to be really honest here, so be prepared. When I first started "Twenty Boy Summer", I was kind of skeptical. The book had such fantastic reviews, but I was not sure if I was buying into the love story in the book. I kind of felt like it was a bit hokey and I wasn't sure what to think of the whole thing. I was pretty turned off by the title of the book and the whole idea of Frankie and Anna meeting twenty boys on their short vacations. After reading 50 pages of the book my opinion was starting to change and by the halfway point I was in love with the book. I think ended up reading most of the book in one day because I got so hooked on the story.
What made my opinion change so drastically was Ockler's character development and story telling. The things that annoyed me at the beginning of the book made complete sense by the end. I respect Ockler's decisions and understand them now that I finished the book. I think it probably drew me into the story more because I was discovering the meaning behind Frankie and Matt's relationship along with Frankie. The ending of the book ended perfectly and I am glad Ockler left things the way she did. She set out to tell one of the stories in her characters life and she did just that. Ockler did an amazing job at portraying emotions that are difficult to discuss. She made all her characters believable through their reactions to Matt's death and how they dealt with the grieving process. "Twenty Boy Summer" is not just about a loss of love, but it is also about friendship and family.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, especially Sarah Dessen fans. Check out the first two chapters here at Ockler's website. In her bio she shares some of her memories from high schools, many of which I can relate to.