Written by Sarah Ockler
Published June, 2009 by Little Brown
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Loss & Grief, Romance
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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 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 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.
The first book I got to read on my shiny new Kobo e-reader! It didn’t disappoint. I devoured it in one sitting. I was left with the yearning to be by the sea and have my own summer fling.
I’ve wanted to read this one since I first heard about it. I was immediately sucked into the world of Anna and Frankie, feeling a part of their summer escapades. While Frankie is outrageous, Anna is quiet and unsure of herself. The two have a great dynamic, each one balancing the other out.
I watched the film The Greatest last night, so the whole ‘losing a son’ story was still fresh in my mind while reading Twenty Boy Summer. I didn’t understand the book cover (I thought they were little notes pieced together) until I finished reading and looked at it again. I realized they were the pieces of sea-glass Matt and Frankie collected on their previous trips to California. Note the sole red piece.
I really liked Anna; liked the way she remembered Matt in her own little way. The way she put down pennies so someone else could have good luck, the way she did with the piece of red glass she found. I also loved how she wrote letters to Matt in her journal. I was absolutely distraught when Frankie discovered the journal near the end and completely trashed it. I could see that scene so perfectly in my head.
In the end, it was oddly freeing in a way. The two were able to rekindle their friendship, now completely void of secrets, and remember Matt how he was. Sam was great for Anna, which surprised me. He seemed like a nice guy, but I thought the two were going to stick it out with their ’20 boys’ rule, and leave Jake and Sam after one surfing lesson.
I really liked the way Anna described her ‘albatross’. I am pretty sure this is why this book was brought into the whole ‘banned book’ debate lately. Some people might see it as encouraging the loss of virginity, but I liked how the girls were able to laugh about it and particularly had some giggles when Anna compared it to something thrown away in the wild. I can’t remember the exact quote, but if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean. Her inner monologue was fantastic.
I highly recommend Twenty Boy Summer to anyone, really. I’m interested in reading some more of Sarah Ockler’s work!!!