Thursday, February 03, 2011

Review: Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Goodreads description:

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay 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 rating: 5 out of 5 stars

First  off, let me say that I love this cover. At first, I just thought it was pretty, and now that I’ve read the book and understand what the sea glass means, the cover is even cuter. Okay, now to the actual story. This novel is a light, fun summer read with typical teenage life, but it’s so much more – it’s deep and moving, too.

I liked seeing how each member of the family and Anna coped with the grief of losing Matt. My favorite part of the novel were probably the characters. They were fleshed-out and realistic (except for Sam, who was a bit flat to me). At the beginning, I didn’t like Frankie (she was fake and superficial), but later on I understood why she acted the way she did. I thought Anna was a great character with a great voice – she was easy to relate to from the beginning on, and she made me feel each of her emotions – her excitement, her anger, her pain. I even felt her guilt for liking Sam and (in her mind) erasing Matt.

I loved Matt’s character, despite never having known him. The romance between him and Anna was incredibly sweet, especially the scene of their first kiss. The fact that he would leave a lucky penny lying on the street because he wanted someone else to have a lucky day made me smile, and I’ll probably have to think of this book every time I find a penny now. The writing was great as well – it made me feel as if I were there on the beach with them, and the dialogue was very realistic.

However, I found it a bit strange how close Matt and Frankie used to be, but maybe the reader just never saw the fights because Anna didn’t want to remember the bad things. One thing that annoyed me was how Frankie kept using wrong vocab words – at the beginning it was funny, but it was overdone and got stupid after a while, as some of the words Frankie didn’t know were totally normal, day-to-day words. Also, I didn’t enjoy the romance between Anna and Sam all that much – maybe I (like Anna) was caught up on Matt, or maybe it was because Sam’s character wasn’t as fleshed-out as he could have been.

One of the comments on the back of the book says that this story “breaks your heart and puts it back together again,” and I think that’s a perfect description for this novel – it evoked loads of emotions in me. It was hilarious at points and heartbreakingly sad at others.
Overall, this is an extremely sweet story with a great voice, great characters and great writing. It’s the perfect mixture of a sweet summer romance and an emotional depiction of grief. Definitely worth reading, and I’m looking forward to reading Sarah Ockler’s second novel, Fixing Delilah.


  1. Nice review :) I've seen this book around a lot, but I never really thought much about it. I'm adding it to my TBR now!

  2. This book is just so amazing. I cried a whole bunch reading it. Very bittersweet.

  3. I loved this book! Nice review! I totally agree with you--the cover is gorgeous especially after reading this book! It's a perfect summer read! :)

  4. Gahhh this book has been on my TBR list forever. Especially since Wesley Scroggins tried to ban it along with SPEAK and SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE. If a book is considered ban-worthy alongside those two, that's good enough for me! Great review! =)

  5. I love the cover too! I think it would be a perfect read for spring, definitely adding it to my TBR pile :) Great review!

  6. This cover is definitely what drew me to the book, but your review helped me make a decision on whether I really wanted to read it, so thanks!!

  7. Wow. This review really helped me see into the characters, and the decriptions were lovely. Definitely on my to read list. New Follower here!

  8. I agree the cover is cute, and i haven't read it yet, i expected that it would be a light read minus the depth it apparently has! Can't wait to read it!


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