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Book Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

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Book Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 1st 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 14-17 years old
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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“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 Zanzibar Bay 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.


MY THOUGHTS

I was really disappointed by this one.

I thought I was going to like it. I mean, look at that cover, and then read the summary, and then go through all its great ratings on Goodreads. It’s impossible to keep my hopes down.

Let me start by saying that the title is very misleading. Twenty Boy Summer? More like Not-Even-Half-Of-That Summer. (Lame, I know.)

I am a very character-centered reader. I don’t usually care if the plot isn’t amazing—with the exception of, you know, cut-my-eyes-off bad. I believe that the character/s of the book adds a lot more to the experience of a reader. That being said, I felt nothing for the characters in Twenty Boy Smumer. By “characters,” I mean Anna and Frankie. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to know them as much as I would’ve like. Or maybe I don’t freaking see why they would be best friends in the first place! The only person I liked was Matt… but he dies! Ugh.

I know I said I felt nothing for the two main characters, but scratch that. I felt something for Frankie: pure hatred. Frankie is just as selfish and self-absorbed as I thought she would be. I get it, she’s grieving because her brother died. But for goodness’ sake, Anna loved Matt too—as a brother, best friend and a lover. Frankie keeps on acting like she’s the only person affected, and she doesn’t know how to consider other feelings but her own! I want to kick Anna for putting up with Frankie’s shit.

There was a lot of breaking the rules throughout their duration in Zanzibar Bay, and like the goody two shoes I am, I was really nervous with all of the duo’s rendezvous with the two hotties they meet on their summer holiday. But that’s not even the worse part, it is the fact that Anna and Frankie weren’t even caught and/or punished for sneaking out.

One of the aforementioned hotties is Anna’s “summer romance”, I guess you can say. But I can’t feel the romance. I literally cringe at some point.

I originally wanted to rate this a 1 out of 5, but decided against it. The only thing that earned the extra star was the first few chapters when Matt was still alive. I genuinely thought it would turn out as a great contemporary read, but it was a let down.

Would I recommend it?

Not really. It had potential in the first few chapters but I was unhappy on how it turns out. If you really think you like the plot, I suggest borrowing from a friend or your local library if they have it because I don’t think it’s worth the ten bucks.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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