Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown and Co.
Age Level: 12+
Reader’s Annotation: Anna gets her birthday wish when her best friend Matt finally kisses her. Everything changes when Matt is killed by an unknown heart defect and Anna is left to mourn alone, and comfort her other best friend Frankie, Matt’s little sister.
Summary: Anna has two best friends; Frankie, and Frankie’s older brother Matt. At her fifteenth birthday party Anna’s wish comes true when Matt secretly kisses her. Worried about his Frankie’s reaction, Matt asks Anna to keep quiet about their relationship until he can tell her on their annual trip to the California beach. But when Matt dies, Anna is left with the weight of their secret and Frankie, who is careening through her grief. Twenty Boy Summer is more than a novel about loss and friendship. It is about the journey that one girl must take during a summer of growing up. “Nothing ever really goes away – it just changes into something else.”
Evaluation: This novel was a surprise. The story is much deeper than the cover indicates, and Anna is truly a character you feel for. Anna’s relationship with Frankie makes up the bulk of the novel; but the real story if Anna growing to accept her love for Matt and accepting the worth of her lose as well.
Booktalk Ideas: Do you tell your best friend everything?
Challenges: Drinking and sex
Selection: I was looking for a light romance; I got more than I bargained for.