Thursday, June 9, 2011

REVIEW: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

I'm on a little bit of a reading roll right now. With revisions done and the book sent away, I feel like the best thing I can do to remain industrious right now (other than working on my shiny new project) is to be a good reader. So you're going to be getting a bunch of reviews over the next few days (I'm on my third book this week!). Starting with this one:

You'll remember that I read Ockler's second book, Fixing Delilah, and loved it so much I recommended it before I was even finished. Then of course when I was done I wrote a rave review. I immediately added Twenty Boy Summer to my To Be Read (TBR) pile and finally picked it up this weekend. And wow, did it not let me down.

It's really hard to write a character, kill him off in the first few pages, and yet manage to write him in such a way that the reader is STILL invested all the way to the end. I teared up many, MANY times throughout the course of the book just over Matt alone (including one very unfortunate incident in a burrito place).

What I love the most about this book, though, is that despite the title, it's a book about friendship. There are some serious swoon-worthy guys in this book, but they aren't the focus. Frankie and Anna's friendship is complex and fragile. As a reader, you find yourself holding your breath for it until *spoiler alert* the shit hits the proverbial fan. And when it finally all goes to hell, the payoff is good. The scene where the big bad happens towards the end (and I won't tell you what it is, because I want you to feel the same ache I did when it happens), you really want to smack the crap out of Frankie and also shake Anna and say, "didn't you sort of see this coming?!" But you know, in a good way. That's how good Ockler is at getting you wrapped up in her characters and their stories.

I'm going to ahead and say it: Sarah Ockler is totally the next Sarah Dessen. If you love any of the Sarah Dessen books, then you NEED to pick up Twenty Boy Summer or Fixing Delilah (or both!). 

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