Thursday, 14 June 2012

Review: Twenty Boy Summer

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 1st, 2009
Genre: YA, Realistic Fiction

Ever since she was ten years old, Anna has been in love with Matt, her best friend that’s a boy and brother of her best friend Frankie. Everything changed when Matt and Anna kissed on her fifteenth birthday. Looking out to protect his little sister, Matt wanted to wait and tell Frankie about them in a month. Before he could, he died due to a heart defect that no one knew about. Over a year later, Anna hasn’t told anyone about her relationship with Matt, and he died without her knowing exactly what she was to him. While Frankie used to be shy, she’s become outgoing and flirtatious. Anna is going to spend twenty-three days of summer with Frankie at a summerhouse in California. Frankie decides that together they’re going to meet twenty boys, looking for the special one that could be Anna’s first. Together, Anna and Frankie experience a summer full of beaches, boys and firsts. As Anna struggles with the secret that she never wanted to keep, she’s not sure if she’s ready to move on yet. But it won’t take twenty boys to convince her, but maybe just one.

I took this one out from the library a few months ago, and ended up never getting past the first twenty pages. This was partly because I was busy and also because I couldn’t get into the story. Later on I decided to give it another chance, since I heard so many good things about it. Summer is just starting so it was a great time to read Twenty Boy Summer. First off, the cover is amazing. I love how it references the sea glass in the book and Matt’s heart defect. This is Sarah Ockler’s first novel, and at times the writing was beautiful. I’m very glad I gave this book a second chance. It was the perfect summer novel, focusing on summer fun while also about more serious themes, like loss. I enjoyed the story and the combination of summer fun while coping with grief. However, Anna never felt like a believable character. There wasn’t much to her personality other than being Frankie’s rock and loving Matt. I did love her witty comments in conversations, and Frankie was a convincing character. I loved the bits of romance we got to see, but we never saw enough to make me love the relationships Anna has. With Sam, I got to see bits of why Anna liked him, but I never felt like I ever really got to know them as a couple. That may have been the intention, because the book isn’t really about Anna and Sam, it’s about Anna learning that she can be with someone else without having to forget Matt. While Frankie and Anna don’t make it to twenty boys, they do learn a lot about moving on. Nothing that happens will ever erase Matt from Anna’s memory. Overall, this was a great beach read that touched on some more serious issues. I will definitely be checking out more of Sarah Ockler’s books after enjoying Twenty Boy Summer.


“Every story is part of a whole, entire life, you know? Happy and sad and tragic and whatever, but an entire life. And books let you know them.”

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