Saturday, September 18, 2010

BR: Twenty Boy Summer

by Sarah Ockler

I really needed a good book. I don't think this summer I've read anything that was absolutely exceptional (minus Mockingjay) but I had hopes for this one...

Summary (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 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.

My Expectations: I’ve wanted to read this novel for forever, and I've heard tons of great things so I expected it to be awesome (but I was wary that it would focus too much on romance).

Delivery: Completely met my high expectations, it was wonderful!

Put-down-ability: Could not put it down! It was my reward for doing homework for 2 hours on Sunday.. read it until I went to bed, then finished it. 2/10, writing is superbly engaging.

My Thoughts

There’s something infinitely special with a book like this, one that can portray a myriad of emotions while still sustaining the honesty behind it that is crucial for its success. And I think that was the special ingredient: honesty.

Twenty Boy Summer was everything people said it would be, it was heartbreaking, tender, hopeful and heartfelt; I had my doubts going into this but everything washed away with the California waves. I thought the plot behind Matt would be forced and phony, and boy was I glad to be wrong. As Anna shared the little memories of him, however insignificant, I could feel their bond and her grief, the turmoil and guilt she was experiencing… it was touching and flawless.

As Anna’s summer passes, her original plan of twenty boys turns into just one, Sam. He is my only nitpick in this novel, but only because of the fact that he’s perfect. Good-looking, nice to a fault, interested, sweet, caring… the character depth was lacking but I’ll admit the surface was all sorts of wonderful.

Frankie on the other hand was the opposite, and I honestly think she’s what makes this novel a gem. On the surface, she was shallow and artificial, her vanity was loathsome and I couldn’t see how she and Anna were bffs. However, like I said, it was all on the surface, it the fragile wall she had put up to deal with her own grief and insecurities. Ockler did a great job slowly peeling back the layers of her character, with a bit of Anna’s help. Both girls’ journeys of moving on after the tragedy of Matt’s death were honest, unique, and emotional.

Lastly, I can’t help but comment on how much I adore Ockler’s writing style. It was the absolute perfect blend of voice, character, passion and truth, without a single clichéd metaphor in site. The effortless style was exquisite incredibly engaging; I cannot believe this is her debut novel!
Once Frankie's asleep, my best-friend superstrength disappears. My breathing shatters, tears blur the stars in the overhead skylight, and all the old ghosts I tried to leave home float like dandelion seed wishes into our room.
Parting Thoughts: Fixing Delilah, I have my eye on you. December 2010!
Rating in HP Terms: Outstanding! (wow, first one in a long time…)

9.2/10 – because I loved it. Twenty Boy Summer is a fantastic novel that deals with grief and heartbreak, friendships and family, and above all: love. The characters are well rounded and the writing is exceptional, I absolutely loved the way the ocean and the beaches were described throughout the novel. There were so many things I didn't manage to mention, so I'll just recommend this to you. Because we are all in need of a great book and maybe a little tear-fest. A

author twitter/website/blog


  1. It sounds like a very good book! Not my usual genre, but if the characters and writing are that good, I'll have to check it out.

  2. I liked this one too and I'm looking forward to her next book. I can't imagine reading this during non-beach weather though - it made me want to go to the beach so badly! (and then I did and got a horrible sunburn). My only real complaints on this one (aside from the resulting sunburn) are that I think there were a couple moments where we were told more than we needed to (I can't give specifics without spoiling the ending) that seemed more like foretelling than foreshadowing. And the Frankie-messes-up-words thing didn't work for me, but I'm sure some readers out there thought it was hilarious. Oh and I love the cover - very pretty and eye-catching.

  3. I love this book. One of my favourites for sure. Glad you love it as well! :)

  4. im glad that you liked it Audrey i've wanted to read this for a very long time!

  5. I loved this book, too! And I also love Ockler's writing style. She made this book come alive for me and I really felt Anna's struggle with Matt's death. There were a few descriptions of Cali that came off as cliched to me, but that's not very important in the whole scheme of things. I'm looking forward to her sophomore novel right along with you!

  6. Nice Review, I am just stopping in from the hop. I am now a new follower. I hope you get a chance to stop by at

  7. Great Review. I can't wait till I can get my hands on this book. I have been wanting to get it but currently I have so many books that I need to read to buy one. But I might have to after reading your review!

  8. The Golden Eagle- I hope you get the chance to! it's a great read (but I hope it's okay even if you might not be a fan of contemporary fic)

    Em- mhm, I know what you're talking about, there might have been a few nitpick moments like that. Definitely a beach-read! But with some more depth.

    Michelle- Yay! Another fan! :D

    Aly- I hope you try it! i think you'll like it :)

    Kris- yes! Her writing style is amazing, I might just not have read enought beach books to know though :P thanks for the comment!

    Wrightwon- thank you! Will stop by yours now :)

    Toryaslim- thanks! Haha, I know what you mean! *glares at tbr* *salivates at paranormalcy*.. jk. I hope you get to read it sometime!

  9. Wow this one sounds awesome!!! I really need to read it soon!

  10. Thanks so much for this review! Fixing Delilah is a book I'm planning on getting as an ARC, but I've never read any of Ockler's books! I'm so glad you've mentioned how wonderful this is, and now I'll be sure to pick it up!

  11. Great review! I love you style! This sounds like such an amazing book. It's especially timely, in light of the Scroggins controversy.

    I'm stopping by on the Hop and I'll definitely be following your blog!

  12. I liked this one too! Thanks for the review.
    Frankie was quite a treat!

    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  13. This looks fantastic, will definitely have to check it out.


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