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...
"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.
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