Thursday, June 18, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer

"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 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.

Beth says 4.5 stars...
This is a perfect summer read. There's enough fun and lightness in it to make it enjoyable, but there's more to the story. It could have been about two friends trying to have the perfect summer romance, but it wasn't just that. This was a story of people trying to deal with tremendous grief in different ways. There was so much heart. With the title and cover (there's no magic involved) I wouldn't have picked it up on my own, but I'm glad I read it. The relationships between the characters were all very murky, and I enjoyed it. Everyone is in a place of confusion, and it affects all aspects of their lives. The characters were all well done, but at times felt a bit blah. I could predict some of the things that they did when I wasn't supposed to. The plot flowed well and remained interesting throughout the novel. I loved the layering of emotions in the book. This is a lovely debut from a talented author. Everyone should grab this book and some tissues on the way to the beach, especially if it's a girls weekend!

Nathan says 4.5 stars...
I want to tell everyone out there that this is not a girls-only book. Sure, maybe it's more aimed at a female audience, but I really enjoyed this one. It perfectly captured the darkness and confusion of loss and what it takes to move forward. The characters are identifiable, but the details make them fresh. The story isn't the most original, but it's life and quality give it substance. 20 Boy Summer is almost a reinvention of the typical summer novel. It's airy and bright, but with a point. Ockler's writing is fantastic here. It's the perfect amount of description mixed with excellently used undercurrent and tone. Her writing is poignant, clever, and really pretty heart-wrenching. My favorite part of this book was the last few chapters. It's an explosion of emotion, which ends with the perfect message- that there's always hope. This debut novel is definitely worth checking out, particularly if it can get this fantasy lover to give it a glowing review.

P.S. - Stay tuned-we're hosting a clue in Sarah's 20 Things Scavenger Hunt. You can win all sorts of cool stuff from the amazing Sarah Ockler. Aren't you excited? We are!


MssJos said...

I REALLY want to read this one! I have been hearing such wonderful things! I have got to pick it up asap! I'm glad Nathan liked it too! I am always looking for books to recommend to students that appeal to both sexes. And I'm always up for a "hopefully ever after" ending.

Great review!

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