Monday, 18 April 2011

Review for Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

""Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it." "Okay." "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 ZanzibarBay 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." I bought this book back when it very first came out in 2009 before I’d even heard any reviews for it purely because the synopsis sounded so freakin’ good! It’s rare that I’ll buy a book before reading some reviews on it first but for Twenty Boy Summer I didn’t need to, I knew it would be the kind of book I enjoy. I love coming of age stories especially if the coming of age takes place during a summer vacation with lots of sun, tans and boys! I’m a big fan of Sarah Dessen and the synopsis reminded me of the kind of book she would write and so I’ve been saving this for the perfect summer’s day and that day finally came along last week. I expected this book to be a lot sadder than it was, I expected to cry and get angry and throw things like I do when a book really moves me but I didn’t. Whilst this is the story of a girl whose boyfriend died the twenty boy summer takes place a year after Matt’s death so although the characters are still grieving they’re not in the first heart wrenching all-consuming grips of bereavement, so although this book has it’s sad parts when Anna’s reflecting on Matt, his death and their relationship the majority of the book reads like a fun summer novel. I really enjoyed Sarah Ockler’s style of writing mixing the past with the present, sunny days and friendship with ghosts and salt water tears. It was a light, quick, fun, summer read which was exactly what I was after mixed in with change, growing up, moving on and letting go. The plot was original and thought provoking reminding me of other summer authors I love like Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen. The only thing that let this book down for me was the characters. I didn’t not like them exactly but I just found them to be a little undeveloped. They aren’t the most memorable characters in the world and if I had to pick a favourite it would be Matt-who was dead- yeah… So although the characters weren’t the most accomplished it didn’t really effect my enjoyment of the book as I got what I was after – a quick, fun, coming of age summer story. I’ve always wondered what was with the cover for this book and why there was only one piece of red sea glass (I get curious about these kinds of things) and it *is* relevant to the book and is actually a nice touch to the story when you find out how it fits together. All in all Twenty Boy Summer was exactly what I was looking for. It’s the perfect book to take with you to the beach or to read on a hot summer’s day in the garden like I did. It’s not too demanding and the plots compulsive enough to keep you turning the pages in a haze of sun, sea and sand. Overall I would recommend this as a summer read and am excited to read Sarah Ockler’s second novel Fixing Delilah later this summer. My Rating 4/5 stars **** Synopsis taken from goodreads


  1. I'm kind if crushed right now. I have had this on my shelf for a few months and have been meaning to pick it up. Saving it too in a way for when I'm in need of something sad and amazing. I had this whole thought that it would be one of those like The Sky Is Everywhere, which would make me want to have a moment to myself because I was so angry and emotional. Little bit disappointed that, that will not be the case, because when I read the synopsis I thought It sounded like my perfect tearjerker which would leave me in thought *sighs* Thanks for being honest Jess :)

  2. Great review! I was planning to buy this but finding it hard to get a copy. Think I might go for a Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han book instead. I like the characters to be engaging!

  3. It’s not that the book isn’t good it is, just not in the way that I was expecting. Like you Aly and like I said in the review I was expecting to be really moved by it but I wasn’t really. Sure some parts were sad and I felt for Anna but it didn’t ball me over with emotion which is what I was expecting. It did move me though and was still a good coming of age summer story :-)

  4. I've wanted to read this one for ages. Don't know why I haven't yet! I really must get to it soon!

  5. This book looks really great! I've started her other book, and I really liked it. So I hope I'll like this one too! Great Review!

  6. l recently read Fixing Delilah and the big let-down for me was actually the characters!
    l was hoping this one would be different so it's a shame to hear they are not developed that great!
    May still give it a go though.
    Thanks for the review

  7. I really loved this book so had to read your review! You are right, the characters could have been more developed but the basic storyline was good....

  8. Really interesting review! I was just looking at this one the other day, I am still a little undecided about it but I do think it will be one I buy.

    Jules x

  9. I read this last year and really enjoyed it.

    Matt was my favorite character too lol. I couldn't stand Frankie!

  10. I've got this on my TBR pile and expected it be sad,too! I need characters that are well-developed, hope the writing style can establish a connection between story and me then. Thanks for your review!


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