“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 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.
What I Like:
First, I want to discuss the cover. You may think it’s pretty or simple, but it portrays 100% what the book is about. The title of Sarah Ockler’s debut novel may lead you to think that it is just another Young Adult chick lit book (there is nothing wrong with YA Chick-lit), but this novel has depth, it is deep, and it will make you reevaluate your life.
Throughout the novel we get to experience firsthand not just the grief Matt’s family is going through, but Anna, whom no one seems to acknowledge that she has every right to be hurting too. There are some beautiful lines written in this novel. For example:
Like the stars, fading with the halo of the vanishing moon. Like the ocean, falling and whispering against the shore. Nothing ever really goes away – it just changes into something else. Something beautiful.
I’m not a person that sheds tears when reading a book. Some have even said I’m hard as a rock, but TBS opened up the safe within my mind and brought memories of someone that I loved that passed away several years ago. I teared up several times while reading it.
This book is a good portrayal of how grief can take control of someone’s life, and the process that we sometimes have to go through in order to heal.
I also want to point out that Sam was such a sweetheart. It must be hard to take a chance on someone knowing you may never see them again after summer ends.
What I Dislike:
If I am going to be super nit-picky, I wish we would have seen a little more of Frankie before Matt’s death. The only lens which we see Frankie through is Anna and that lens can be obscured.
Twenty Boy Summer is one of the best debut novels I have read. The well thought out passages and the full exploration of grief makes this one of the most heat-wrenching, beautiful novels I have ever read.