Sunday, June 14, 2009

Enchanting Review: Twenty Boy Summer

Young Adult Romance
Little, Brown and Company
ISBN# 978-0-316-05159-0
304 pages
Hardcover - Available Now
Rating: 5 Enchantments
Matt Perino, best male friend turned boyfriend, or something like it. Sister to Frankie Perino, Anna’s best friend since time existed. The three of them grew up together, Matt acting as big brother to both girls until one evening when everything changes. A kiss transforms Matt’s relationship with Anna and starts a relationship that pulls their two souls together. He’s the perfect big brother and wants his sister to hear the news from him. He plans on telling her during their annual summer vacation getaway, but he never gets the opportunity. Instead, he dies.
Anna, our heroine and the voice of the story is an intelligent and well-behaved daughter. Devastated by Matt’s death, she keeps her promise to him and hides their secret relationship from Frankie, even after he’s gone. Anna is Frankie’s protector, always looking out for her and ensuring that she goes on, even when Anna herself is dying inside.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER is the story of life after Matt’s death. Two summers after the tragic loss, the Perino’s decide to continue their vacation tradition, hoping that it will bring some normalcy back to their lives. Frankie brings Anna along and together the girls attempt to plan the best summer ever. Completely boy crazy after Matt’s death, Frankie devises a scheme whereby the two girls will attempt to meet twenty boys by the end of the summer. Hopefully, by the time they go home, at least one of them will have found a true summer romance. Sunny beaches, thrilling adventures and boys aplenty color their vacation. But when emotions run high and memories are stirred, will it all prove to be too much for Matt’s survivors?
I really loved this story. Sarah Ockler did an amazing job of illustrating what it means to live, to die and to survive. TWENTY BOY SUMMER had beautiful prose and an undercurrent of hope that we, as the readers, couldn’t help but feel. I felt that her descriptions were so lovely and so realistic that it was almost like she picked us up and tossed us on the sands of the beach at Zanzibar Bay. We can really feel the sun on our face, the sand beneath our toes, and most importantly, the raw emotion that fills the pages.
There were points in the book where I couldn’t help but to wonder if this story was a little too deep and dark for young adults. I quickly realized that whether it was dark or not, the story was real. Anna and Frankie display real emotion as they grieve in their own separate ways. Ockler shows us that despite the darkness, despite the despair at losing a loved one, life really can go on. This, above all, made me an absolute fan of this story. I loved the romance, both remembered and new, and the realism that Ockler gives it. With writing as colorful as the various shades of sea glass, Ockler created a true winner.
TWENTY BOY SUMMER is the debut novel for author Sarah Ockler. She can be found online at where links to her Facebook, Myspace and Twitter pages can be located.
June 2009

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