Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Publish Date: June 1, 2011
Hardcover, 290 pages
Barnes and Noble (Paperback $8.99/Nook $7.99)
I absolutely enjoyed this book. I was horrified, laughed out loud and fell in love all over again. HOWEVER, I do not see this as a teen book. I think this type of book is a definite example of how teen books should be rated. Yes, I am a big believer in freedom of speech, but as a woman and knowing my 14 year old niece, I would not allow her to read this. Simply because I feel that it is preferable for an older teen. It talks about promiscuous sex. Teens lying and making a game of sex and dating. These girls laugh about lying and drinking. Yes, I also realize that this is what teens do, but I do not think this is appropriate for girls still developing their values. It would be a good book if we both read it and talked about it, but I still think it is preferable for an older teen.
Knowing that, I had a fabulous fun time reading this book. The basis of this book breaks my heart. A girl, Annie, falls in love with her neighbors brother, Matt, coincidentally it is her best friend, Frankie. They keep it a secret and it is beautiful. Before they can tell her they are in love, he dies. Tears. Really. Sarah Ockler did such an incredible job telling this. In order to survive, Frankie turns to boys, sex and make-believe. She convinces her best friend, Annie, to dare to use twenty boys to help Annie lose her virginity the summer they go to California with Frankie's parents. Frankie is a maniac. She lies, drinks and is basically a self-centered person. Meanwhile, Annie is mourning her own broken heart, all alone, in secret.
It was so wonderful to read the way this all develops and then blows up. How things can mend in our own hearts and how people may not be who we think they are.
"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 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.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.