Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Copyright 2009
Little Brown & Co. - YA
290 pages

I picked up my library copy of Twenty Boy Summer on a Monday evening and simply could not put it down till I finished at 2:00 am. A little over a year has passed since Anna fell for Matt--her best friend's brother (and, till then, her other best friend, a boy she secretly loved for years). Weeks into their romance, Matt suddenly died. Now, Matt's sister Frankie and her parents are returning to their usual vacation spot in California and Anna has been invited along.

Frankie comes up with a challenge. They should try to meet 20 boys and find a way for Anna to lose her virginity. During their three weeks in California, they spend time with Frankie's parents and go boy-hunting. Once they've located a couple of decent guys, they begin sneaking out to meet with them regularly. Meanwhile, the two girls are still dealing with grief; and, a surprising revelation by Frankie leads to a rift in their friendship. Will their summer vacation help them learn to live with Matt's loss? Or will Anna and Frankie's experience lead to the end of a lifelong friendship?

This is a great YA, very well written, but a really hard read because it's mostly about dealing with grief and you can practically feel their pain. As to the "losing the virginity" part, it's worth mentioning that Anna is only 16. I've grown weary of books in which it seems like early loss of virginity is not only expected but it's implied or boldly stated that there's something seriously wrong with a female who remains a virgin past the age of 18. In this case, I must say it was handled well. I've opted not to include any spoilers but the bottom line is that the book is beautifully written and takes grief, young love and teen angst seriously but handles them with tact and care.

Twenty Boy Summer is not a "dumbed down" book. The writing is on par with fiction not targeted at teens and it's accessible but intelligent. Definitely recommended, and I'd encourage mothers of teenage girls to read it with their daughters; it could prove a good starting point for some excellent discussion.

4.5/5 - A smart, beautifully-written young adult novel about grief, friendship and love. Tackles serious teen issues and the pain of loss with tremendous respect.

More pretties blooming around our home:

I've decided I probably ought to keep a garden journal, like Chris mentioned. I have a tendency to plant a lot of the same annuals from one year to another, but sometimes I can't remember the name of "that pretty plant with all the tiny red flowers that I grew last year" when planting season rolls around. So, I'm going to try to get cracking on that. I have several empty journals lying about.

Currently reading:

Nothing. Duh. I'm typing on the computer. ;)

Okay, I started reading The Passage by Justin Cronin, last night. Kiddo had to turn the light out and tell me to "get some sleep, Mom." It's nice to know he cares. I haven't picked up A Rumor of War in a few days, but I plan to get back to that book, tonight. And, then I'm sure I'll get crazy and find at least 2 more books to add to the mix.

Just walked in:

Red November: Inside the Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War by W. Craig Reed - "If Tom Clancy had turned The Hunt for Red October into a nonfiction thriller, Red November might be the result" says James Rollins in the cover quote. My copy came from Goodreads.

Also arrived:

A set of A & E "romances" on DVD, including Jane Austen's Emma. I missed the PBS Austen specials, last year (except for Northanger Abbey, which I still need to read). When shopping online, my objective was to locate a set of the Thin Man movies for hubby, but had a really great DVD sale going and the A & E romance set leaped into my cart. Pinkie swear.

And, hurricane season is upon us. Here's my favorite bit of humor about the potentially lethal combination of the Gulf oil spill and hurricane season.

For some reason, that made me hungry. Or, maybe it's just supper time. Better go. The neighbors are going to start calling if my stomach growls any louder. Happy Wednesday! Got any wahoos to share?


  1. I also really appreciated 20 Boy Summer. I picked up a copy of her next novel at BEA and I think I have an extra. Would you like it? Let me know!

  2. Amy,

    Wasn't it awesome? I was so impressed with the way she handled some really sensitive, serious issues and the characters were wonderful. Forgot to mention that.

    Why, yes, I would love to have your extra copy!!! I'll dash over to your blog to tell you, in case you miss my reply. Thanks so much for offering!

  3. I just started my own little teeny tiny gardening journal :D I'm enjoying it so far!! Flowers are looking lovely! And aren't you just so excited that hurricane season is here :/

  4. Chris,

    Wahoo for gardening journals! I'm thinking that keeping track of what I've planted will give me something suitably nerdy to do. :)

    The idea of hurricane season oddly makes me want to shake someone hard, this year -- like maybe an oil company executive or Sarah Palin (who really, REALLY needs to shut up -- can you believe she's saying it would be "safer" to drill in the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge"?)

  5. Anonymous5:33 AM

    I'm totally jealous over you, Christ (and Lesley's) gardening skills! Didn't I tell you when I asked my husband for the best kind of plant to keep on my desk during the school year he said, "Silk"? That about sums up my ability with growing.

    Thank goodness we can all share our reading skills!

  6. Bellezza,

    Haha! I love it! Husbands are so funny. I totally understand, though. You wouldn't believe how many plants I've killed, over the years, either because I didn't know what I was doing, neglected them, or forgot to look at the little tags to see whether they prefer sunshine or shade. I think I've improved. I did kill one summer splash plant, this year (eck - it was NOT cheap; I had to mail order the summer splash).

    Yes, thank goodness for our shared love of reading!

  7. Love the garden photos :)

  8. Another Lost Soul,

    Thank you! :)


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