According to Anna’s 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 her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
Release Date: June 1, 2009
LONG STORY SHORT:
Twenty Boy Summer had me in on the first page! Characters who could not only be the boy or girl next door, but whom I'd also love to have as my best friends had to deal with the death of a very important person - but even more - with growing up and saving a friendship from the effects of that process - wonderful story, the perfect feel - good novel!
I'm sorry, Sarah Dessen. I was convinced there would never be something or someone to rob you the number one spot in my reading heart. I'm sorry, I was wrong...
Well, not quite. I still love Sarah Dessen's writing, but I would say Sarah Ockler is the first contemporary writer that I adore just as much. Their ways of telling a story are rather different, I guess, but both amazing.
I was very worried to start Twenty Boy Summer because I luckily have never lost someone close to me and my problem with grief books is that I usually don't get them, I can't identify with them.
I didn't have to worry, though. Twenty Boy Summer brought a smile on my face on the very first page and that smile revisited throughout the whole book.
Anna, the main character, had a great personality but also found herself in the middle of growing into her own person and making her own decisions.
As was Frankie, Anna's best friend. She just tried to find herself in a totally different way. That growing-of age part of the novel especially appealed to me because both characters were described so realistically. I think most teens could identify with either the rather quiet, thoughtful Anna or the rebellious and wild Frankie.
Realistic is also what I'd call the conflict the two girls had to work out. I mean, not all of us have to deal with overcoming the death of a brother and best friend, but the tension between the childhood friends, Anna's worries about keeping something from her best friend for the first time in her life and how her secret will affect the rest of their lives and their friendship - I think most girls go through that phase sooner or later.
The boys in this book...came rather random, I think. They were more of an accessory, necessary for the story, but they kept appearing and disappearing whenever they were needed without really playing an important role.
Much more important were the parents - especially Frankie's and that's also where I have to criticize a bit. I really would have liked to see if and how Frankie can solve the problems with her parents.
All in all, though, Twenty Boy Summer is a really great coming-of age story with excellent funny, emotional writing written by an author who - I would assume - definitely knows how teens feel :)
RATING: 3 out of 3 Smarties