I received this book for free from Purchased in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Sarah Ockler
Released: June 1, 2009
Published by Brown Books, Little
[Ockler’s] words remind me of exactly why I fell in love with the written word in the first place. There’s something raw and thought-provoking about them and those words lay heavy on your chest, making you feel something that you never thought you’d feel from simply reading a combination of letters on a previously blank page. ~ Under the Covers
TWENTY BOY SUMMER is one of those books that will stick with you long after you finish and it down. It’s emotionally gut-wrenching but also makes you look at life in a whole different way.
For twenty days, Anna and her best friend, Frankie are going to be at Zanzibar Bay with Frankie’s family. Sun, sand and hot boys will be in abundance so Frankie proposes that they each have a summer fling. Anna agrees to it, but what Frankie doesn’t know is that Anna has already found the love of her life in her brother, Matt. The shocking and emotional twist of this premise is that Matt died in an accident a year ago and Anna and Frankie are still grieving. However, Anna has kept her secret love from Frankie. As both try to go on with their lives, they find an unexpected connection and learn to value other things in life.
This novel is told from Anna’s POV which makes it more personal and the perfect way to tell this story. It’s so honest and raw, giving readers a front and center look at grief. Reading this was HARD and I remember the first time I read it a long time ago, I cried for the entire book. As Anna reminisces about moments with Matt, those scenes simply GUTTED ME. The scene that comes to mind is the birthday cake scene, though I’d rather you read instead of me telling you what happened. It’s one of those scenes that are so poignant, you have to read yourself.
In the midst of her grief, Anna tries to date boys. Some make an imprint on her life and others do not. It’s the process of grief and I think the author really nails it on the head. Her words simply shined.
Sometimes when I’m with him, something will remind me of Matt. A shooting star, the smell of someone’s shampoo, a long laugh, a turn of phrase from someone passing by along the shore. 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.
Those words remind me of exactly why I fell in love with the written word in the first place. There’s something raw and thought-provoking about them and those words lay heavy on your chest, making you feel something that you never thought you’d feel from simply reading a combination of letters on a previously blank page.
This is why I loved this book before and this is why I still love it after years of growing up in between reads. No matter what your age is, grief is an emotion that everyone can relate to and though crushing, it also makes you appreciate what you have.
Another thing I loved was the juxtaposition of the sunny setting and the storm in Anna’s heart. Like I said, this book is hard to read because of the spiral of emotions you will experience, but because it’s set in a sunny location with Frankie’s fun personality, there are moments of extreme happiness as well and it’s a nice reprieve from all the darkness.
With NA makes its waves through readers right now, I hope NA fans take the time to pick up this older release and give it a try. It’s one of my all-time favorite books because it’s timeless and I hope others can see its value if they only gave it a shot.
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