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"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in
Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.
This was seriously one of the most heart wrenching YA books I've ever read. The story makes you want to cry as you read of a first love that will never be, a heart that is shattered and a secret must be kept forever. When Matt died, his family was allowed to grieve publicly and chose not to, keeping themselves conflicted over their emotions. Meanwhile Anna is grieving on the inside with no one to tell how she really feels. Things are made worse when she has to keep this secret from even her best friend, who was Matt's sister. As the story goes on, Anna feels that she has lost out on everything that could have been a part of her and Matt's story. The part that really got to me was when Anna cries up to the sky, demanding to Matt why he had to leave them and why she had to go through all of this alone.
It's a great summer read though. The location of most of the story is at the beach so the sounds of the waves crashing and the warm rays of the sun can be felt throughout the book. I could picture myself hanging out with Anna and Frankie as they lay out on the beach, checking out guys, and making plans for the Absolute Best Summer Ever. There's a lot of fun mixed in the story as well. However don't pass this off as just flimsy teen lit. This book handles more serious issues and is insightful, poignant and moving. Ockler's voice in this book is magnificent. She perfectly portrays the feelings of a teenager who lost her first love and feels conflicted about the past. She really brings Anna to life and allows the reader to see her inner struggles and her pain. Emotions run deep while reading this book and don't be surprised if you end up a bit teary eyed. It is best recommended for older teens due to the thematic issues and sexual content (nothing graphic however).
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler is published by Little Brown Young Readers (2009)