Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Anna is turning 15 and has an amazing life.  She lives next door to her two best friends, Frankie, who is the same age as Anna, and  Frankie’s older brother Matt.  Matt is 17 and Anna’s best-friend-who-is-a-boy.  As she blows out her birthday candles she makes her wish…  the same wish she has made since Frankie and her were ten and Matt was twelve.  Anna wishes Matt loved her the way she loves him.

This year, Anna’s wish comes true and Matt finally kisses her, and shares that he too has feelings for her.  BLISS!   Matt asks Anna to let him tell Frankie as they are all so close.   And Anna, filled with warm butterflies and a swelling heart agrees to keep it a secret until Matt tells Frankie.

When tragedy strikes, Anna is left holding on to the secret that never had a chance to be told as well as a fragile version of her best friend Frankie.

A year passes…. and Anna is invited to go to California, with Frankie and her family, to spend a few weeks where Frankie’s family vacationed every year.   The exception being, that this year will be the first without Matt.  As summer starts to move its way across the sky, Anna finds herself torn between old ghosts, and new possibilities, the best friend she once knew, and the stranger Frankie seems to have become…

♥         ♥         ♥         ♥         ♥         ♥         ♥         ♥

I seem to be on a YA kick.  I know partially it is the time of the year…. it’s summer and summer calls me to  light, summery feeling reads, and this book was a perfect fit.  It was beyond what I thought it would be and when I finished it I knew it was totally “gush worthy.”


There are so many things I liked about this book.  Anna, Frankie, Matt – all likable well-developed characters that I had no trouble at all picturing as real flesh and blood teens.  I liked Anna a lot.  She was a wonderful girl who did her best to hold on to Frankie as Frankie tried to move on from her brother’s death, having no idea the pain and the secret that Anna was clinging to.

And for Anna – how do you move on from the ghost of a …… she wasn’t even sure what Matt was to her.  Boyfriend?

Author Sarah Ockler writes a compelling read that made me feel all the highly intense emotions of the characters.  When love is so fresh and new you actually can feel it in the air like electricity…. and when pain hits like a flash of white light – it is so powerful it takes your breath away and leaves you grasping at whispers of memories….

“Anna, what’s the number one coolest thing you’ve ever seen in your life?”

‘What’s yours?”

“It’s always been the ocean but I’m thinking about changing my answer.”

Twenty Boy Summer made my heart ache.  I would have never guessed that this was a debut authors book.  Beautifully written, sweet and touching – it will remind you of teenage years, warm beaches, best friends, and first love…  at least it did for me. 

*Note:  Twenty Boy Summer does have some sexual content

My Amazon Rating

Book Journey’s reading map has been updated to include Twenty Boy Summer

If you are in the area to visit Anna and Frankie at Zanzibar Bay you should stop for coffee (or smoothies) at Zanzibar Cafe

290 pages

Cover Story:  Love it – instantly curious about the red piece!  (And later, loved how the red piece played into the story!

Sarah Ockler and I in New York, May 2010

I purchased this book in New York at the Author Carnival Event

About Sheila (Book Journey)

Bookaholic * Audio Book Fan *Bike Rider *Rollerblader *Adventure Seeker *Want To Be Runner*Coffee lover *Fitness Fan * Movie junkie

Posted on July 8, 2010, in Book Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 39 Comments.

  1. Awesome review!! Makes me want to read this book NOW!

  2. I really loved this book. I thought the title was a little misleading, because it sounded as if it would be a frivolous book, and it really wasn’t at all.

    • Jill, I probably would have never picked it up but Sarah Ockler and I really had a kind of neat discussion when I met her and it drew me to want to read her book. So glad I did!

  3. there is definitly some great ya books out there…..can’t wait to read this one!

    • Diana there really are – I was just talking with my friend about what the draw was to YA – for all ages… I think I have a post in that discussion coming up :)

  4. I loved this one too. I know what you mean about the heartache part. Her writing style reminded me of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott. I am definitely a fan. Nice review!

    • Christina – I cried. I seriously think this book broke my heart a little. Sarah did a really good job on touching on the grief too and how tragedy can change you.

  5. For some reason this one just doesn’t sing to me.

    • For me to read it, that is.

      • Hannah I was impressed by the depth of the characters. I felt that Sarah had a really good grasp on the emotions of that characters and it really reminded me of how intense our emotions can be at that age. I remember that intensity and I think that is what draws me to these reads. :)

  6. I don’t usually read YA fiction, but this one has had me intriuged since I first saw it a year or so ago. Thanks for the review Sheila!

    • Jo-Jo when I look at my reviews, I am actually surprised how many YA I do read.

      (Lately thought it is because I talked with a lot of YA authors in New York and went to two YA events with my room mates. I came home with quite a few YA.) :D

  7. Thanks so much for writing a review for this book! Its def going onto my wishlist. Sounds like a great read. Love the cover too! =)

  8. Some of the best books on the market lately are YA. This sounds like another exceptional one. I’ll add it to my list, but who knows when I’ll ever get to it. I miss being able to make sure these books are available for the teens.

  9. I have never read a YA novel, but after that great review, I can’t wait to read Twenty Boy Summer. I did order Wintergirls after the buzz about it on your blog last week. It was delivered yesterday. I plan to start it this weekend. Cute picture of you and the book. :)

  10. I’ve had this on my shelf for a while now, but I’ll have to move it up the line. Sounds like it’s a solid read!

  11. I picked this up and read a page and I can’t wait to get to it. It promises to be just as good as I heard it would be. Glad that you enjoyed it!

  12. Sounds like an interesting read, I love the cover.

  13. What a lovely book! Oh I really need a ‘nice’ read after all the hardcore books I’ve been ploughing through (In the Miso Soup, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas etc…)

    Excellent review, putting it on my TBR list now!

  14. Great review Sheila, so glad you loved it, I did too!

  15. This review is a winner and this book sounds really….. beautiful……full of fun….teenage magic (if I may call it that)…emotions that are ‘real’ and that hit you…..and you are right this book can bring back a lot of memories…If your review itself does it then can imagine the actual book.

    I loved this review, I am really going to have beautiful dreams tonight. Thankyou Sheila !

  16. Definitely going on my Not-So-Bebe Girls “Mom Must Buy” list – and then, I get to read it too! Which is always the cool thing with a family of readers; we all get to share and enjoy all genres! Thanks for the great review!

  17. I’m so glad that you enjoyed this book! It took me by complete surprise and I absolutely loved it!!!

  18. what page does anna tell frankie about her and matt?

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