In ‘Twenty Boy Summer’ Sarah Ockler creates magic through her beautiful writing. While reading, I became Anna and that really made me enjoy this book. Besides that, then this wasn’t just another predictable love story. I liked how I had no clue about what direction the story was going to take, and that made me eager to read the book.

by Kathrine


‘Twenty Boy Summer’


Sarah Ockler



Reading Level:

Advanced Beginner

First Published:

June 1st, 2009

Publisher, This copy:

Little, Brown and Company

Feelings Thermometer:

On her 15th birthday, Anna finally gets what she wanted since she was ten: a kiss from Matt. They decide to keep their feelings for each other as a secret to Matt’s sister, Frankie, who also happens to be Anna’s best friend.

Matt wants to be the one to tell Frankie about, what might be the beginning of a long and happy relationship. But Matt passes away in a tragic accident, and Anna decides to keep their secret – just like she promised Matt she would.

A year later Frankie still doesn’t know anything about her brother and Anna. So according to her, the best way Anna can have her first summer romance is by spending 20 days in Zanzibar Bay.

Matt has told Anna everything about Zanzibar Bay, so when they arrive she is constantly reminded about the love she lost. Anna is supposed to be the strong one, since she isn’t the one who lost her brother. But for how long is that possible?

Sarah Ockler creates magic

The book is written beautifully, and Anna’s feelings are described in a way, so I feel what she is feeling. If Anna was sad, I was sad. If Anna was happy, I was happy. I smiled when she smiled, and cried when she cried. I felt like I could connect with Anna through her emotions, and that is one of the reasons I really liked the book. The descriptions made me feel like I was Anna, and that is when I really like a book – when I can disappear from reality and just be someone else. That is when the author manages to practice magic, and that is what Sarah Ockler did with this book.

Not just another predictable love story

Another thing I really liked about this book is that it wasn’t predictable. This wasn’t just another story about a girl, who had lost the love of her life and there is a chance she can get it back. Because Anna can’t get Matt back. He is gone for good, and nothing can bring him back.

I had no idea if Anna would end up finding a summer fling or not. And this wasn’t the only thing the book was about. Because just as much as this book is about love, it is about friendship and grief. Both Anna and Frankie are grieving, because they both lost someone they lost and that has affected them in different ways. But the book is also about friendship and how much it can bear.
The development of the story could go in different directions, and through the entire book, I was eager to find out which one Sarah Ockler chose.

‘Envisionation’ and ‘judicial’

Frankie may not be the sharpest tool in the box and that really finds expressions in a lot funny scenes in the book. She has decided to expand her vocabulary but her pronunciation is not spot on. Therefore, when Frankie says ‘judicial’ what she really means is ‘judgmental’. And ‘envisionation’ is ‘visualization’. Anna is the smart one, so every time Frankie gets a word wrong Anna is there to correct her, and that really creates a lot of funny episodes in the book, which made me laugh out loud, and I just really liked that.

All in all

So this isn’t just another book about finding a summer fling. It is a book about moving on after losing someone you loved, it’s a book about how many bumps in the road a friendship can handle before it breaks down – and then it’s a book about how to make the best of every single moment life has to offer.

Excerpt from ‘The Shock of the Fall’

I shrug and focus on the pictures of Helicopter Pilot’s self-appointed mascot, the Air Guitarist, until she gets distracted mixing eye shadow shades on the back of her hand with a Q-tip. I can’t fault her for trying. She doesn’t know about Matt, the ghost that floats in and out of my heart, haunting and unresolved.
Don’t worry. It’s our secret.
“do you like this color?” She bats her eyes at me and laughs. Something about her smile reminds me of him, and I have to look away to block the flood of memory. It’s officially more than a year now. I know I should let go, but it never really leaves me. Every morning, I wake up and forget just for a second that it happened.
But once my eyes open, it buries me like a landslide of sharp, sad rocks.
Once my eyes open, I’m heavy, like there’s too much gravity pressing on my heart.
I never talk to Frankie about it. Matt’s her brother for real, nor her best-friend-that’s-a-boy in the big-brother way. I never say anything about him.
I just swallow hard.
Nod and smile.
One foot in front of the other.
I’m fine, thanks for not asking.