Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy Summer

4.5 612
by Sarah Ockler

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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

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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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Anna was best friends with Frankie and her brother, Matt, until all three are in a car accident in which Matt is killed. A year later, Anna and Frankie, struggling to get past Matt’s death, head to California with Frankie’s parents for a beach vacation, determined to have “the Absolute Best Summer Ever (A.B.S.E).” But Anna has a secret: her friendship with Matt had become an intense romance shortly before the accident, and she cannot determine “the statue of limitations on feeling guilty for cheating on a ghost.” Readers will be quickly drawn in and moved by the pain that strains Frankie’s family, which ultimately threatens the friends’ relationship. The plot takes too long to unfold, however, and teens might be surprised that the title’s premise (referring to a bet the girls make that “whoever get the most prospects—wins”) almost disappears among other plot points. Still, Ockler’s debut is often poetic (“I’ve replayed the events of that day a hundred thousand times, looking for clues. An alternate ending. The butterfly effect”) and the girls’ friendship authentic, making for a poignant summer read. Ages 12–up. (June)
Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Anna has secretly been in love with Matt, the boy next door, since she was ten years old. On her fifteenth birthday, her repeated wish comes true and he kisses her. But they are afraid to tell Frankie, Matt's younger sister and Anna's forever best friend, fearing she will be hurt. Anna is troubled by not being able to share this important development with Frankie, but Matt insists he will tell Frankie while they are on summer vacation so he can make sure she is okay about it. Only summer vacation never comes that year because Matt suddenly dies from a previously unknown heart defect. This is a story of friends and families making their way back from a loss that each feels in their own way but often cannot always share with one another. Even though they cry together, Anna promised Matt that she would not tell Frankie about their relationship, and so she cannot grieve Matt as her lost love. Keeping the secret from Frankie is eating her up. Frankie goes off the deep end and starts lying and sneaking around. When summer rolls around the following year and Anna is invited to join the family on their annual trip to Zanzibar Bay in California, it seems to be an opportunity for healing and moving on—or blowing everything apart. The characters are well developed and the dialog and plotting are credible. Readers will feel compassion for all concerned, even if Frankie is exasperating in her manic coping behavior. There is explicit discussion of sexual activity. This would be a useful discussion starter for teens dealing with the loss of a friend or family member. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
VOYA - Paula Brehm-Heeger
Anna Reiley has been best friends with Matt and his sister Francesca (Frankie) forever. A stolen kiss between Anna and Matt at Anna's fifteenth birthday party changes everything. The two begin a secret, whirlwind romance that ends a few weeks later when Matt suddenly dies on the eve of his family's annual trip to Zanzibar Bay, California. Plans for Matt to tell Frankie about the romance evaporate, leaving Anna to keep her promise to Matt that she would carry on their secret. Burdened by grief and guilt, Anna copes by writing in her journal and becoming Frankie's emotional caretaker. Frankie deals by becoming daring and wild. One year after Matt's death, Anna and Frankie travel to Zanzibar Bay where Frankie challenges Anna to meet twenty boys and to lose her virginity, something Frankie claims to have already done. Anna soon falls for a new boy, Sam and realizes that she must find a way to move past Matt's memory and help emotionally fragile Frankie to do the same. Ockler deftly combines the sadness of the situation and her characters with humor and lightness, as when Anna talks about the term "losing" one's virginity as being ridiculous, somehow implying that "I just cast it off somewhere between here and Monterey" or when Frankie constantly mixes up vocabulary words, yelling at her mother at one point for planning a "prepottemous" rather than a preposterous vacation. This humor along with several sweet and sensitively written love scenes will surely make this intelligent, heartfelt novel a favorite of many older middle school and high school girls. Reviewer: Paula Brehm-Heeger
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up-Matt and Francesca (Frankie) Perino and their neighbor Anna have been best friends since they were toddlers, but now Anna's feelings for Matt go beyond that. Then, on her 15th birthday, he kisses her. From that moment, their relationship flourishes-in private. Knowing Frankie will be upset, Matt wants to wait until his family goes on their annual summer vacation in Zanzibar Bay, CA, where he can talk to her alone. Anna promises to keep their secret. Tragically, Matt dies the night before they leave, and Anna mourns in secret while trying to save volatile Frankie from her grief and a never-ending streak of reckless behavior. One year later, Frankie and her parents return to Zanzibar Bay, taking Anna with them. Frankie declares that this summer Anna will lose her virginity. Anna is conflicted. Can she tell Frankie about Matt without breaking her promise to him? Does she risk getting involved with a new boy, Sam, or will that make her lose Matt all over again? Sex is regularly discussed, but never in explicit detail. The characters are richly developed; as the girls sneak out and meet boys, the differences in their personalities come through, and Frankie's parents' actions and reactions to their loss are well depicted. In the end, the lies that Anna and Frankie have told one another lead to an explosive confrontation. Often funny, this is a thoughtful, multilayered story about friendship, loss, and moving on.-Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR

Kirkus Reviews
Anna and Matt were keeping their new romance confidential to spare the feelings of Matt's little sister, Frankie, who is also Anna's best friend. But when an undiagnosed heart condition cuts Matt's life tragically short, Anna is left with a huge secret that robs her of her right to mourn. Now a year later, Anna is accompanying Frankie and her parents on their annual summer trip, their first vacation without Matt. Extrovert Frankie has challenged Anna to flirt with at least 20 boys, one of whom may relieve her of her pesky virginity. But Anna's heart is still burdened by the confidence she refuses to break. Though Matt's character often seems too good to be true, that's precisely what makes him such a swoonworthy object in this sincere, romantic tearjerker. Readers will easily relate to Anna's authentically depicted feelings of lust, longing, shame and fear as she cautiously embarks on a new summer love. The perfect beach read for teens who enjoyed a good cry over Gayle Forman's If I Stay (2009) or Jenny Downham's Before I Die (2007). (Fiction. 13 & up)
"This is smoothly written and romantic as all get out....ideal for readers looking for romance salted with a bit of tears as well as a bit of sea air."
From the Publisher
"[A] sincere, romantic tearjerker. Readers will easily relate to Anna's authentically depicted feelings of lust, longing, shame and fear as she cautiously embarks on a new summer love."—Kirkus Reviews"

This is smoothly written and romantic as all get out....ideal for readers looking for romance salted with a bit of tears as well as a bit of sea air."—BCCB

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Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
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File size:
869 KB
Age Range:
12 - 18 Years

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Twenty Boy Summer 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 612 reviews.
pineapples11 More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of books and this is my favorite book I have ever read. I never re-read books no matter how good they were, but this one was just so amazing that I will definitely read it again soon. I gave it to a few friends to read and they loved it. Favorite book ever. Since I read this, nothing can compare. It is truly amazing. You should really read this.
MicheleLeesBookLove More than 1 year ago
I was given this book to review. Twenty Boy Summer, a YA novel about two girls struggling to come to terms with the death of their best friend, hits like a most beautifully wrapped ton of bricks. Frankie and Anna are best friends, journeying on a spectacular trip to California. Last year Frankie's older brother Matt spend a dazzling month secretly dating their best friend Anna before Matt died of an undiagnosed heart problem. The book starts out describing how lucky the girls were to have survived the accident (Matt was driving when his heart gave), then proceeds to reveal what a misnomer "survival" is. Even a year later Frankie's family is torn apart by their loss, and Anna, having sworn to keep her relationship with Matt a secret, is devastated at not being allowed to properly morn her own loss (or even understand what exactly she's lost). So the girls make a plan to meet twenty boys in their quest to lose their virginity and leave their heartache behind. But their search only triggers all the fears and emotions left behind, particularly as Anna is terrified that moving on will make what she had with Matt less special. Twenty Boy Summer is beautiful, heartbreaking and a raw read through and through. While there are very few surprises here, and the plot is all character and angst driven, it speaks, very strongly, to anyone who has lost someone they love and has gone through the mourning process. This is not a fluffy, light-hearted fictional read, or even a fiction tale with serious, dark undertones. Twenty Boy Summer bears a resemblance the nineties film My Girl and the Katherine Paterson book The Bridge to Terabithia, set after the landmark character deaths and in a teen setting. Soulful and beautiful it's a must, but difficult, read.
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this wonderful book. Very well written with good plot.
Jari_T More than 1 year ago
I can honestly say that twenty boy summer was one of the best books ive ever read. The story behind twenty boy summer was touching and anna's point of view made it all the better. I recommend this book to anybody who wants to read a book that is truly about dealing with grief, loss, friendship and finding yourself.
asamum More than 1 year ago
hearted girl, the type of friend everyone wishes they had. She falls in love with her best friends brother, Matt, the three of them have been friends all of their lives, neighbours and practically inseparable. On her birthday all her dreams come true when Matt kisses her. They meet in secret afraid of Frankie's reaction to the development of their relationship. Before they are able to tell Frankie, Matt tragically dies from an undetected heart defect, Anna is left to hold the pieces together and unable to tell Frankie that she was in love with her brother. The story unfolds directly into the action with some points of reminiscing by Anna to give the background details to the plot. In some respects Anna seems far more mature than her age would give her credit for. Anna takes on the role of holding people together has to hide the depth of her own loss. The emotions within the narrative were poignant and tangible. However, I did find myself comparing the story to The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson which also deals with loss, grief and first love. The main difference between the two books was the way in which people grieve was depicted. A good point to compare and contrast. The one thing I can honestly say I preferred in The Sky is Everywhere is how the issue of losing your virginity was dealt with, with emotion and the whole ideal of making it special. While in Twenty Boy Summer it is treated as an affliction to be cast off as soon as possible. I did sympathise with Anna as in her mind Matt was the one and that was taken away from her, anyone else would always be second best. The whole idea that she was afraid to move on as if it would be an act of betrayal to Matt was touching. The story was an emotional journey of self-discovery for Anna. The thing I liked most about Twenty Boy Summer was the way in which each persons grief was depicted. For Frankie she acts out, pretends to be a completely different person to the one she was when her brother was alive. She doesn't take anyone else's feelings into consideration and that annoyed me at times. For Matt & Frankie's parents, they shut themselves off completely, not talking about Matt or even allowing anyone into his room. They are so wrapped up in their own grief that they hand responsibility of Frankie over to Anna, who is obviously far too young to be put in that position. While Anna is hiding the depth of her emotions. The descriptions and imagery are fantastically sensory, you really feel as if you are on the beach with the waves lapping and the sand between your toes. The beach has always been one of my favourite places and never fails to make me feel at peace. So this aspect of the narrative really brought it to life for me. All aspects of the plot tie together beautifully in the end, offering a bitter-sweet resolution. A great book giving a different view of grief and loss. You may need tissues.
babycakes83 More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I could not stop reading it from beginning to end. It was surprising and just an excellent book. It had me wondering what was going to happen next at all times. I could read this book over and over and still feel like I am reading it for the first time. I absolutely love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Twenty Boy Summer isn't my favorite boook , but I thought it was a really good book and I thought it was pretty sad in the beginning and I started to cry. This is book is really good if you want to read about a heart thrilling summer romance book with a little twist of shocking ! My opinion is that I wish Matt never died , I thought him and Anna would've really worked out .
book_nerd0606 More than 1 year ago
Anna has been in love with her best friend's brother for five years. Now it's her fifteenth birthday and they finally get to be a couple. But this relationship is short-lived when Matt dies in a car accident just a short month later. Now she's got a secret that Matt told her not to tell anybody, a journal that she writes all her secrets in, and a summer in Zanzibar Bay, California with her best friend. This Summer Frankie and Anna make a plan to meet up to 20 boys in California, but what they didn't expect was for Anna to fall in love with her boy #1 and find her thoughts of Matt slowly slipping away. This book kept me on the edge of my seat the whole book, trying to read faster and faster to finish the book. I just couldn't wait. This is BY FAR the absolute BESTTTTTTTTTTTT book i've ever read. Better than Twilight even ;) most definitely worth reading and i would recommend it to everyone that doesn't mind tearing up, major surprises, and finding what life is about. I literally almost cried a bunch of times in this book. READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
TheButler More than 1 year ago
The title and cover of the book make it look like another teenybopper romance, but it is a very emotional book that I think any age can read! The plot is well written and I always check for the authors next book just because this one was so amazing. If you cry easily there might be some tears, but you need a good cry every once in a while! It has friendship, romance, heartbreak of more than one kind, family, and angst and fluffy moments!
BHarvey More than 1 year ago
When this book came out I was shopping at the boulevard mall and she had signed the novel for me! I could not believe how quick I read the book and I could not put it down! Amazing writer and always had you intrigued to find out what was on the next page and what turn of events would pursue! I do currently have all of her books! Keep writing :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book you will never get bored of. Its amazing. It keeps you entertained. I recommmend this book ages 13 and up. But im 11.. so idk lol.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this down! It really displayed Anna's confusion about whether or not she should pursue a boy she likes when she loved Matt so much; the author described it as "cheating on a ghost." Humor, romance, loss, forgiveness, and guilt are main themes throughout the book. I became connected to each character. I was laughing, crying, and smiling while reading. Two thumbs up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a great book, very interesting! The beginning and end were the best and most interesting parts of the book. The middle was very good, but some parts got a little bit boring, but overall very good! You can even feel the exact same emotions the character is feeling!!! I highly recommend it!
BooksObsession More than 1 year ago
This novel is the perfect summer read! Not only is it cute and fun, but also it's deep and meaningful. It's such a realistic and detailed story of loss and breakthrough. This book was so hard to put down, and I was begging for more even after the last page. I could understand each character perfectly and relate to them easily. It was interesting seeing how Anna and Frankie changed throughout the story - especially from the car crash. Sarah Ockler has amazed me with this story and I can't wait to read what she comes up with next! I absolutely love this cover, too. It's so beachy and symbolic and ties in with the novel greatly. Just looking at this book makes me want to pick it up and see what adventures are inside. A must-read for all ages!
RoundtableReviews More than 1 year ago
Every now and then a book comes along that truly touches the heart. 20 BOY SUMMER is that book! I picked it up. By the end of the third chapter, my face was covered in tears and my throat had a lump the size of a grapefruit stuck in it. Yet, I felt compelled to keep reading. I needed to know that Anna would be okay. Neighbors and best friends, Anna, Francesca (aka Frankie) and Frankie's older brother Matt have been involved in each others lives from the day they were born. At her fifteenth birthday party, the one thing Anna wants most happens. Her family celebrates with their neighbors just like every year, but this is the year Matt kisses her. Soon, Anna and Matt are becoming an item, but he wants to be the one to tell Frankie. Neither of them are sure how Frankie will react. Until she's told, Anna and Matt share stolen kisses, midnight rendezvous and fleeting touches. And then, everything is ripped apart. On the way home from ice cream, Matt, Anna and Frankie are in a car accident. An undiagnosed hole in Matt's heart lets go. Matt is dead and Anna and Frankie are left to piece together their lives. One year passes and Frankie's family opts to take Anna on their yearly trip to California's coast. Though she's still mourning Matt, Anna agrees to join Frankie on a mission. During their vacation, they will hook up with 20 different guys and see where these romances take them. So summing this up--20 BOY SUMMER is compelling, emotional and one of the best teen girl romances-of-sorts I think I've ever read. It is a romance, but so much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book my junior year of high school (i graduated in 2012). This book has been stuck in my head and stored into tha library part of my brain that reads 'good reads'. I reccommend this to teens. It's realistic and not full of alotta fake fairy tale love crap. It has real emotion, real loss. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is honestly the best book I have ever read. And I read a lot of books! I love Sarah Dessen and this book looked like it would be kind of like what she writes but it is a thousand times better! I got all my friends to read it and they all love it too. I could read it over and over again and not get tired of it. If you are considering buying this do not hesitate!!!! You wont regret it! I would give it more stars if I could.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Best Book EVER
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was desperate for a new book, my friend recommended this book to me. I read the whole book in about three days. Yeah sure, it had its good points. Sure, it was written well. But the same point the book is written around is repeated over and over. I can say I did not thoroughly enjoy this book. If you don't mind reading the same paragraph over and over every other page. Then by all means, jump right in.
Anonymous 5 months ago
This book is an amazing read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really great read. If you have read any of the "Summer I turned Pretty" books or any other Sarah Ockler books and loved them, you will love this book. I read this book right after I finished "The Summer I turned Pretty" series, and the two both worked quite well together. I read it in maybe a day or two, and I was kept at suspense as to what happens next, and the book isn't too predictable. But, this book can be a little inappropriate. (I'd recommend it for 12/13+)  Anyways, this is definitely a summer must read.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
20 boy summer is a wonderful book. Its a book that refects a young womans true personality. THIS IS A MUST READ!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is absolutely heart breaking and happy I love these kinds of books they have so much emotion and its hard to put down five out of five stars