Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: June 1st, 2009
Pages: 290

"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.
Plot: 5/5
Creativity: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Impact: 5/5
Overall: 5/5

I've always had a thing for summer romances. I've always loved how they could take me to a different place, take me on an adventure with just the turn of a page. Due to this particular affinity, I've read more than my fair share of summer beach reads. But given the number of summer romances I've read, Twenty Boy Summer was still something else.

I honestly do not know how to put my feelings for this book into words. I loved it so much, and though I devoured it as quickly as I would water after days in a desert, I actually backtracked a few times. I intentionally tried to prolong my reading experience, wanting it to last forever. I wanted to be stuck in the book, revel in its story and setting and characters and everything else about it.

Twenty Boy Summer follows two best friends, Anna and Frankie, as they spend a few weeks in Zanzibar Bay, California, in hopes of leaving behind their homes and the dark shadow the death of Frankie's brother, Matt, cast on them. Determined to make something of the summer, Frankie devises a plan to meet a boy each day for twenty days in the summer, so she, but even more so Anna, could experience a summer romance. Little does she know Anna already had her summer romance with no less than her own brother, Matt, just weeks before his death.

Brilliant and poignant, Twenty Boy Summer will sweep you off your feet and take you right to Zanzibar Bay where it all happens. You're bound to consume this novel story of love, loss, friendship and new beginnings and love every bit of it. It's such a well-written novel that touches on sensitive subject matter, it would be difficult not to be overwhelmed by a total mixture of emotion by the end of it.

Ockler does a magnificent job of weaving a tale of an unforgettable summer that's enchanting, fun, and deep all at the same time. Her writing is spellbinding and her prose is profound, she can make you soar and then plummet within a matter of paragraphs. She's one of those authors that could maske your heart break into the tiniest little pieces with her words, but you wouldn't mind at all- in fact you'd want to continue reading, make her magnificent words resonate and take you further. It's sublime.

I totally fell in love with the novel, and I'd definitely recommend reading it. It's tragic but beautiful, and haunting in the best possible way; you'd be a fool to pass up an opportunity to read it. Jo Knowles said in her review of it that it would "break your heart and put it back together again" and I could not think of a better way to describe it, as it did exactly that to me. It made my heart leap not once, not twice, but multiple times, and it is hands down one of the best summer stories I've ever read. A read that's nothing short of amazing, Twenty Boy Summer is a book as precious as the sea-glass that adorns its cover.


  1. <3 this book - OMG even just hearing about it sparks memories of reading it! Wonderful review.

  2. I started to read this book and then I put it down after Matt's death. I always wondered if I should have kept going with. It was just sad--him dying and how great he was with Anna. Perhaps I need to pick it up again and keep going with it. What do you think?

  3. Sounds like a great read. Very sad, but beautiful. I need to get my hands on this one. Great review.

  4. I keep hearing great things about this book, but I've never had the urge to read it before now. I had no idea it was so emotional and deep! Thanks for reviewing it - I've got to read it!

  5. I love this book, it was one of my favorites of last year. It is definitely a book that makes you laugh and cry and really think about death and grieving.

  6. I've got this one to read and I can't wait until I get around to it! Great review!

  7. you have won an award on my blog- come check it out! (If you don't want to/don't have time to send it out to more people, I totally understand.)

  8. I loved this book also! Am currently reading an ARC of her new book...the ARC says Fixing Delilah Hannaford, but it looks like Fixing Delilah on Amazon.