May 19, 2012

Review: Twenty Boy Summer

By: Sarah Ockler
Published: June 2009 by Little, Brown
Format: Paperback, 290 pages
First Reviewed: March 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

"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 her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay 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.

Rating: 5/5

I was excited to read this after reading Ockler's newest novel, Fixing Delilah (which everyone should read), and boy, was I not let down!

Normally, I'd think the whole summer vacation would be a overdone, but Ockler put her own spin on it, which I loved. The imagery was beautiful as well. I felt as though I was there, smelling and seeing the ocean.

The characters were wonderfully developed! They felt like real people and their relationships with one another were also just as real. The emotional balance they all had felt true and honest, without ever being overdone. I loved the main character, Anna, and felt her best friend Frankie (love that name, too!) was a great counterpart without being too different or too out there. They balance one another out and felt like true best friends. The minor characters were all great, as well.

Still love Ockler's writing! She gives the perfect balance between beautifully written prose, great, realistic dialogue, fun scenes, and emotional scenes. She knows what a read needs in a book. She had me smiling and nearly bawling. I felt as though I was in the story rather than just reading, which I loved. I can't say enough great things about Ockler's writing. It's simply beautiful.

The plot made me feel. Completely feel. Normally, when I read books dealing with romance (this isn't a complete romance, by the way), I think it'll be just on the girl and her relationship(s). But I gained so much more from this book. It hit home with some things. "Emotionally honest" is written on the back of the book, and that couldn't be more true. It really is. Without being cheesy in any way, it sends powerful messages on grieving and love, in more ways than just a romantic love. Seriously, I had chills at the end of this book, and when that happens, I know I've just read a fantastic book.

Sarah Ockler, I cannot wait to read more of your stuff. Bring it on! Seriously, for most of the book, I thought I would like Fixing Delilah a little better, but once I finished, I knew they were both equally amazing. I just love them.

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