Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Released: June 1, 2009
Age Group: Young Adult
Anna and her best friend Frankie make a pact to meet a different boy every day while on summer vacation. Frankie is determined to find Anna her first boyfriend, but what she doesn't know is that Anna already had a romance the previous summer with her brother Matt. Wanting to find the perfect moment to tell Frankie, Anna never got the chance since Matt tragically died a few weeks after their first kiss. In the wake of Matt's unexpected death, Anna's grief and guilt have nearly torn her apart when Frankie's family invites her along on their summer trip to the beach. On what is supposed to be a getaway, Anna, Frankie, and Frankie's parents are forced to deal with the memories of Matt on their first vacation without him.
Twenty Boy Summer is a must read that explores love, loss, and living each day as if it were your last. This has easily become one of my new favorites, and I cannot wait to see what Ockler has in store in her next novel, Fixing Delilah. Obviously Anna is the focus of the story, but I loved seeing the way Frankie dealt with her brother's death. It was easy to dislike her a little in the beginning, but when we see the layers begin to peel off, her pain was just as touching as Anna's. Also, have you seen that cover! Covers are not something I usually talk about, but they do have a huge impact on me. When I picked this up I thought it was pretty enough, but after reading and putting together the pieces (get it?) I can't think of anything more perfect.
I also wanted to include a passage from the book. There were several beautiful moments throughout, but this particular one stays with me still. I don't think I'll ever see a penny without thinking of it.
It sounds crazy, but things like this happen all the time. For me, it's the pennies. Whenever we'd pass a penny on the sidewalk, Matt wouldn't touch it. "Let someone else have a lucky day," he'd say. I used to tease him and tell him that someday when he got to the great beyond, there'd be a room stuffed full of all the pennies he'd left for other people.
Now I find pennies everywhere. Not just on the sidewalk - which I leave alone, as he would have wanted - but in the strangest places. One in the shower. A few more in my shoes - that seems to be a favorite spot. Just yesterday, one dropped out of a book I bought. I put them in my pockets and drop them on the sidewalk the next chance I get. Let someone else have a lucky day, I say.