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Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy SummerAccording to Anna’s best friend Frankie, their three week vacation in California is the perfect opportunity to find a guy. Frankie figures if they average one boy a day, they can fit twenty odd boys into their schedule. And with all those prospects, there’s bound to be one to claim Anna’s Albatross, a.k.a. her virginity. But even though Anna agrees to this little game, she’s reluctant to truly play along because she’s already had this kind of relationship—with Frankie’s older brother Matt, just before he died a year ago. Frankie never knew, and Anna doesn’t know how to or if she can reveal this secret to her best friend. Is it possible to have a normal vacation when memories and ghosts from the past threaten to ruin everything good in the present?

I seem to find myself reading many novels dealing with grief and death, many of which I have enjoyed, and still, Twenty Boy Summer has made itself stand out. Ockler’s simple yet descriptive style of writing has a way of connecting with the reader’s emotions. Because of this, I was better able to understand Anna’s and Frankie’s difficulties with dealing with their grief from Matt’s death. Ockler, I feel, gets to the heart of how tragedy can suddenly complicate even the most basic relationships, such as Anna and Frankie’s friendship. I’m not sure if I can quite pinpoint exactly what about Twenty Boy Summer made it so memorable to me, as it could be its realistic characters, the strength of Anna and Frankie’s bond, the fact that their struggles are so true to life, or a combination of those three. I am definitely glad to have read Twenty Boy Summer because of its emotional journey but also because it was sweet and ultimately hopeful.

Twenty Boy Summer appeals to readers who liked The Year My Sister Got Lucky by Aimee Friedman, Saving Zoë by Alyson Noël, Freeze Frame by Heidi Ayarbe, A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell, and Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers. I look forward to more great things from Ockler.

Rating: 4.75

Review copy from publisher Little, Brown

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Anonymous said...

This book sounds interesting, and I look forward to reading it.

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