September 28, 2010

Twenty Boy Summer: In A Nutshell

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler 

Her best friend Frankie's brother just died, and Anna doesn't know what to do. Not just because Frankie is now acting like an entirely different person - but because Anna's got a secret. She was in love with Matt. They laughed, they kissed, they dreamed. And she swore she'd let him tell Frankie about it in his own way.

Now he can't, and Anna's left keeping a promise to a dead boy...

One sentence sum-up: A story of a girl, her best friend, and the memory of a boy they both loved.

My reaction: I really loved Matt and his relationship with Anna right away, so having him die from the get-go was pretty hard (that's not a spoiler!) It was easy to relate to what Anna was going through, being torn between wanting to let Matt go and wanting to keep his memory alive and untarnished. I had more difficulty sympathizing with Frankie, as I found her very irritating at times, but she's lost her brother and dealing with her grief by pretending to be something she isn't. The book isn't fast-paced - I found myself starting to skim in a few sections - but Anna's a sympathetic character you'll continue to root for.

Best aspect: The setting of the beach at Zanzibar Bay really suited this novel, by connecting Anna to the memory of Matt. I enjoyed the use of symbolism, from the glass pieces (especially together with the cover) to Anna's journal. Anna's character was also very well-sketched, portraying an understandably confused reaction to the death of one of her best friends.

If I could change something... I would make the parents a little less clueless. I mean, they didn't notice their daughter and her friend were sneaking out each night? Seriously? Also, I wanted a bit more depth from Sam; I liked what I saw of him (he's interested in Anna for her personality, and he respects her and listens to her) but really we just get a small snapshot.

In five words or less: true to life.

Quote: Tough to choose just one because there are several passages in this book that are written beautifully. Here's an example:

I can't stop thinking about what he felt like against my body, against my lips. I can't remember anything else, anything before that. And I realize in this moment that I've finally done it. That horrible, awful thing I swore I would never do.

The frosting. The cigarettes. The blue glass triangle. The shooting stars. The taste of his mouth on mine in the hall closet. Gone. All I can think about is Sam. Matt is – erased. My whole body is warm and buzzing. Sam is smiling next to me, because of me. And I've never felt so lonely in all my life.

Recommend for: anyone who likes a sad but good read about friendship, first love, loss, and moving on.

Final verdict: 4 shooting stars

Banned Books Note: As a happy coincidence I picked this one up at the library right in time for Banned Books Week! Twenty Boy Summer is being challenged, but why anyone would want to ban it I'm not altogether sure. There is some sex, yeah, but nothing very explicit - there are YA books out there with way racier stuff. Perhaps it's not suitable for the very young end of YA readers, but that's no reason to ban it!

Author's website:


  1. Great review! I bought this one a while back and I'm really looking forward to picking it up!

  2. Hey Danya! Liked your review :) I don't usually read contemp fiction, but I'll keep this in the back of my mind! Glad you enjoyed it

  3. Great straight-forward review! I really loved this book, but I agree, it would have been awesome to see a bit more depth to Sam.

  4. Thanks for the review! I'm definitely going to be picking this novel up and then I can really understand what you're talking about.

  5. Just finished this one and really loved the setting and the story. Great review.

  6. I've just started reading this and already think it's fab. I also really liked Matt's character.

    Don't forget to link your banned book reviews on this weeks Read My Review

  7. Great review...I'm not a big YA fan, but you do make me interested. And who can ever figure out the self-appointed "purity police" idiots who set themselves up to "protect" the rest of us from ideas their tiny little brains can't handle?

  8. Thanks for the review!

    This was an emotional and great read.

    Visiting from Read my Review at A Trillian Books
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  9. Nice reivew, I didnt like the book as much as I thought I would and had a hard time trying to relate to Frankie too.

  10. I can't believe someone would want to ban this book - ridiculous!

  11. Such a good book! And what a perfect book to review this week. I think it's time I read this again.

  12. Great review! I can't wait to read it :)

  13. Glad to see you picked this book up to review! I bought it as soon as I read the Dr. Scroggins article in the Springfield News-Leader. Because of my massive stack of review books, I won't be able to read it immediately, but I'm looking forward to it!

  14. Also participating in the September spectacular Reading Challenge, I thought I'd stop by and say hello. Thanks for your thoughtrs on a book I've heard lots about - love it or hate it, it seems to be one of the books everyone is talking about.

  15. I just won this from another blog! I'm excited to read this especially after your review!

  16. I enjoyed this review! Thank you for your insight. :)

  17. I love that you do a quote from the book with your review! This sounds like a really bittersweet read. The quote pretty much broke my heart, so I can only imagine what the rest of the book is like! I think it's definitely one I need to pick up!


I love comments, so post away!

Related Posts with Thumbnails