Pages: 290 pages, paperback
Acquired: Sent for review from Little, Brown
Summary (from Goodreads): According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in 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.
My review: At first I thought Twenty Boy Summer was going to be your run of the mill beach romance story about two girls on a quest to find pretty boys and tan themselves silly on a hot beach in California. However, there’s a lot more to this novel, including a heartbreaking story of loss and a grieving process made even more painful by the fact our protagonist has to keep it all secret from her best friend Frankie.
A year after the car crash that killed Matt, the two best friends head off to California to spend the summer there with Frankie’s parents. The family are still trying to recover from the loss of their son and it’s not an easy process. Arguments are rife throughout this novel and Ockler writes them brilliantly – I believed every word that was put down on the pages and I felt Anna’s pain and longing for Matt radiating through the book.
Anna and Frankie’s relationship is another strong point within the book. It’s completely realistic and I think Ockler’s strength in writing is the relationships she crafts between her characters. The way Anna and Frankie speak and behave around each other is spot on and really helped me lose myself in their story.
Also, I have to mention the beautiful cover art of Twenty Boy Summer because it’s one of my favourites. It’s absolutely gorgeous, completely relates to the story and really smart, which makes more sense once you’ve finished reading the book.
First line: ‘Frankie Perino and I were lucky that day.’
Final thoughts: A story of love, loss and letting go, which is perfect to devour with the sand between your toes.
Read if you liked...: The Summer of Skinny Dipping – Amanda Howells
Total: 15/20 (B)