Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little Brown
Release Date: 1 June 2009
"Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."I am so happy I decided to read this book! It was the perfect way to start off my summer reading. Once I started flipping through the pages, I didn't want to stop. Twenty Boy Summer was on my mind every time I closed the book. I couldn't stop thinking about the characters and what was happening in their lives.
"Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?"
"Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?"
According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every 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 her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
The beginning of the book leaves my heart in pieces, but the author slowly weaves her magic and starts to gradually put my heart back together. It was hard sharing The Big Secret with Anna. She struggles with whether or not to keep TBS, and it tears her to shreds on the inside. No one should have to feel the way she did--alone in her sorrows. She needed to confide in her best friend or her family, but instead she suffers in silence. Anna is always trying to be the strong one, but it's hard. If I could have reached through the pages and hugged her, I would have. I felt a connection with Anna from page one, and I can see how her decisions would likely have been mine.
Frankie is a good friend, really. She's just clueless sometimes. Frank is always caught up in her own thoughts and feelings. She doesn't take the time to step back and view the world from another perspective. She sees what is immediately affecting her and gets lost in her own problems. It doesn't occur to her to ask how someone else might be feeling. Frankie tends to be destructive to herself and those around her. Sometimes I didn't know if it was helpful or hurtful that Anna was always there to save the day.
The friendship Frankie and Anna share is something to be envied. I wish I had grown up with a best friend like that. I think that's what made it harder for Anna to keep TBS from Frankie and everyone else. I also really enjoyed the family dynamics. The parents were actually involved in their daughter's lives, and they didn't disappear from the book once it got started. It's not often you see parents hang around in YA stories. They tend to vanish once things get interesting.
I love how realistic the story is. I didn't doubt anything that happened to the two girls. Nothing seemed exaggerated or unbelievable. The author is also a phenomenal writer. Her descriptions are amazing! When Anna described the beach, I could feel my toes digging into sand, picture the water lapping against my ankles. It was beautiful. It also made me want to pack a suitcase and plan a vacation. I've been itching for the ocean ever since I finished reading the book.
Did I forget to mention cute boys? That's a first for me! You would think the title implies BOYS BOYS BOYS, but that's not the case. There is so much more to this book than boys. They're around, yes, but mostly just for background noise. There are two that really make an impact on the overall story. There is just so much depth and emotion to this book... Now I'm gushing. I do believe this is my longest review ever. I like to keep them short and sweet, but there is just so much AWESOME to be shared.
If you haven't read this book, I would strongly suggest in reading it next (or sometime in the near future). If you can't afford a beach vacation, it's okay! The author can take you there with her words. You can live vicariously through her characters. I did!
Edit: The cover is breathtaking! I love it! It also ties in with the story really well. :)
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