Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 2009
Rating: 4 stars
"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.
This one has been on my shelf for more than a year. I had read Fixing Delilah and enjoyed it, so I was pretty sure I was going to like this one. What I didn't expect was all the emotions I would feel!
We meet Anna and immediately find out about her and Matt, and the cake-induced romance. And then the unthinkable happens... Matt dies. From page one I was on the verge of tears. Losing someone is so hard, no matter your connection to that person. And to have to mask your pain from others because no one quite knows the depth of your relationship? That had to be so much harder on Anna. And then comes Zanzibar Bay, and her and Frankie's plan for twenty boys - one a day. How can Anna not feel guilty? Not feel like she is betraying Matt? Moving on, letting go... it's not an easy task.
I really enjoyed reading this story. There were some downsides, though, which is why it wasn't a five star read for me. Mostly, that would be in some of the characters. Frankie seemed very much an one-dimensional character... where was her depth? It comes, eventually, but I would have loved to have seen more of it. I realize we meet her after Matt's death, and while Anna talks about the *before* Frankie vs the *after* Frankie, it's not really shown well. And then there's Jake. I couldn't really tell what his purpose was, other than someone for Frankie to make out with off and on (mostly on). And Sam. While I did like Sam, and I think he was a good guy and good for Anna, I didn't really feel like we got to know him like I would have liked.
All in all, I definitely think it was worth the read. And for it being her first novel (I didn't realize that going into it...) I think it was great.
Have you read it? What'd you think? Wanna read it?