20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

20boysummerI picked this up yesterday at the exhibits and have just finished reading it here on the plane. This was a very moving and honest story and I think it will be quite popular (it’s not due out until June.) Anna, Frankie (a girl), and Matt have been best friends their whole lives. Matt and Frankie are brother and sister and very, very close. For years Anna has been in love with Matt, but kept her secret to herself. On the night of her 15th birthday, though, Matt kisses her and that changes everything between them. They keep their new love a secret from Frankie, though, because Matt wants the opportunity to tell her himself while they are on a family vacation. The night before the vacation Matt tragically dies. Obviously everyone is devasted. Anna is now burdened with her best friend’s death, her other best friend’s grief, and the secret that she vows to keep about her and Matt’s relationship. (All this happens in the first couple chapters and is also described in the blurb, so I’m not giving away any secrets here.) The main part of the story is what happens a year later and how the secret truly is a burden and how Anna and Frankie cannot let go of their grief. I thought this story blended really well different elements of a fun summer at the beach + grief and secrets and healing + friendship. Those sound like rather disparate elements, but Ockler weaves them together nicely. Recommend to Sarah Dessen fans (I also picked up her new prepub and can’t wait to read it.)

One interesting thing I noted while reading–about a chapter into the book I thought to myself, “I bet a certain thing is going to happen in this book” and sure enough it did. That’s not what is interesting. What’s interesting is that I think I knew the thing was going to happen because I’ve read hundred and hundreds of books and I wonder if an average teen would have guessed the thing was going to happen or if it would have been a wonderful surprise to them? My pleasure when the thing happened was not diminished by guessing it ahead of time, but I immediately thought of a NY Times article I’d read recently in which the author talks about how once you are older you have lost some of that utter magic of not being able to predict elements of stories. It was a good piece-check it out at here.


5 thoughts on “20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

  1. I have a similar experience when i see my kids watching TV. I see them watching the most predictable drivel and laughing their heads off, and I have to remind myself that the jokes may be old and corny to me but they are new to them.

  2. im absolutely in love with this book. its moving, and touchingg, and i cant wait to finish it, once i start i do NOT want to stoppp. this boook is amazing and i cant wait to see what happens with sam and anna;)

  3. This book is the best ive ever read. My friend megan had it in art class, and i read the first two chapters and fell in love, so i bought it at barnes and nobles that afternoon. it is beautifully written, and i finished in in 3 days. two thumbs way… up (:

  4. My best friend told me about the book, and she let me read it after her. After reading the first few pages I fell absolutely in love with it, and couldn’t put it down for anything. I found myself crying and moved by such a pure story.

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