Monday, November 29, 2010

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little Brown
Paperback, 290 pages
Date Published: June 1, 2009

Description (Taken from 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. 
Sarah Ockler’s debut novel is stunning and brilliant and eloquent and the perfect balance of grief and love. Anna’s thoughts about her life now without Matt are heartbreaking, but hopeful at the same time. Her relationship with her best friend Frankie is everything best friendships should be. Together, they are a force to be reckoned with.

The writing is perfectly paced and Ockler’s descriptions of Zanzibar Bay and sea glass and the ocean are beautiful and vivid. I’ve never been to California before, but after reading this book, it feels like I have. Anna and Frankie’s summer of twenty boys is, at times, fun and carefree, everything a summer in the sun should be, but sooner or later their past catches up with them.

Anna’s underlying sorrow about Matt’s death and her newfound happiness with Cali boy Sam make this book both despairingly sad and confusingly happy. Like Anna, I found myself missing Matt, but unable to not smile about Sam. It makes for a complicated windfall of emotions, but it’s all more than spectacular to ride through.

Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this story is about filing a summer with boys because it’s not. It’s about two friends dealing with the loss of a loved one and about moving on, letting go, learning to love, and to live. Anna and Frankie have fun, sure, but they grow up at the same time and learn about who they are in now, in a life without the boy they both loved.

Twenty Boy Summer is sincerely written and heartfelt debut. Ockler’s writing will leave you breathless and longing for the ocean. Light at times, but heavy as the weight of the world at others, this book will make you feel and laugh and cry. It’s a sparkling book about love and romance and a summer that changes lives. Don’t miss it.

Opening lines:
Frankie Perino and I were lucky that day. Lucky to be alive – that’s what everyone said. ~ pg. 1

Favorite lines: When it happens, I close my eyes, count to ten, and will him to go away. To leave me. To give me back my memories so that something as simple as a song floating out from behind a bonfire doesn’t bring me all the way back to him every time.
It never works.
And this one:
I really don’t even know you, and yet, in my life, you are forever entangled; to my history, inextricably bound. ~ pg. 266
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I really enjoyed this book too so had to pop in and check out your review!

Melissa said...

I just bought this past weekend, glad to hear you liked it!

Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

Lovely review! I still have yet to read this one, hopefully I get to it soon since it's so good! :)

Chutzpah said...

I've been continually passing this one over, but after this review I guess I'll just have to bite the bullet and give it a read!

~The Book Pixie said...

Such a great review! I've had this book sitting on my bookcase for some time now and really need to get to it. I love books that do a great job at balancing the lighter and heavier aspects and this sounds like one of those. Now if only I can get all these review books read so I can get to it. Oy. :P


Bere said...

I'm so glad to hear you really enjoyed this one, Nikki. I loved this one as well. I'm so glad I picked it up. Sarah Ockler is completely brilliant. I can't wait to read more from her. =)

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