Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy SummerDetails:  Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

  • Pub. Date: May 2010
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Format: Paperback , 290pp
  • Sales Rank: 33,165
  • Age Range: Young Adult


“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 Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie—-she’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
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.

My Thoughts:

This is a very touching and sad book for many different reasons in my book.  The introduction is Anna kind of reliving her birthday and the first kiss from her best friend, Frankie’s, older brother, who she has been secretly in love with since she was twelve.  Their story of sneaking around and sharing hidden kisses is touching and reminded me of what young love is all about.  Matt begged Anna not to tell his sister that he would be the one to do it and then he died suddenly from a heart condition no one knew about and both girls are left devastated   Flash forward one year, Frankie and Anna are going to go on the vacation of a lifetime together where Frankie’s family has been vacationing for years and the memories of Matt and haunting everyone.  Frankie puts out the challenge of 20 boys, 10 each while they are gone.  Will they make the count?
This story was super hard to read at times because both girls were hurting so much yet neither could or would talk to each other.  This is a true story of love, loss and healing.  There are many extreme lows for both girls but how they respond is just how you would expect.  They rebel and do some things there never would.  Sarah Ockler has a great connection with the teen world and what is reasonable and not reasonable to happen.  I loved the descriptions of the ocean and beach and the sea glass.  This was one of my favorite parts of the book.  Also, the growth both girls has during this summer. Oh to be young again.
The only frustration with the book was the ending it was just too abrupt for my taste.  I wanted to know how these girls were going to repair their somewhat broken relationship as all the truth came tumbling out.   

My Rating:

Good story – it touches the heart and is a true reflection of love and loss as a teen.
*I was given this book from another blogger.  All opinions are mine.

Review: Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn’t have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)Details:  Ten Things We Did (and probably shouldn’t have) by Sarah Mlynowski

  • Pub. Date: June 2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Format: Hardcover , 368pp
  • Sales Rank: 25,624
  • Age Range: 12 and up


2 girls + 3 guys + 1 house – parents = 10 things April and her friends did that they (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn’t have.
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Throwing a Crazy Party” (#8), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4), and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) at all is kind of a mystery to them.
In this hilarious and bittersweet tale, Sarah Mlynowski mines the heart and mind of a girl on her own for the first time. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart . . . one thing-she-shouldn’t-have-done at a time.

My Thoughts:

This was a super fun read.  I love the rebellion in these girls.  There is not way at their age that I would have thought one that my parents would let me move in with my best friend while they moved across the country or two that there would be no adult supervisor.  The trouble they get into and the super hard lessons learned along the way make this a good read for teens.  When looking back on this story after I could not put it down, this was a one sitting read for me, I realized that there are super heavy topics covered in this book from lying, to alcohol and the trouble you can get into there, to sexually transmitted diseases.  That is a whole range of tough topics that I didn’t really put together until I sat down and really thought about the story.  That is the biggest reason why I think this book in very impactful for teens and a good reflection for adults.  The style of writing is what makes this book different from some many others that take the super hard line on these issues and harp on them.  In this book, choices are made and consequence happen and it feels so much more like real life.  Great job to Sarah Mlynowski!

My Rating:

4 Penguins –  Good story with a great message and the ending was very interesting but I am not telling you what happens.  
* I purchased this book.  All opinions are mine.


Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

StarcrossedDetails:  Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

  • Pub. Date: May 2011
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Format: Hardcover , 496pp
  • Sales Rank: 16,085
  • Age Range: Young Adult



How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart

My Thoughts

Helen has always felt kind of out of place even though she has her great best friend who look out for her.  She has never felt that she could be herself and seems to get horrible cramps every time she was the center of attention.  She lives on Nantucket and learns the first week of school that a new family is moving into a huge property on the island.  She has the oddest encounter with one of the boys, and she pretty much loses control.  Helen learns that she is really is different.  There is love and loss and just frustration all though this book.

I LOVED this story.  It was a great taken on the classics.  Josephine Angelini has a wonderful style that makes reading her book play like a movie in your head.  Mythology has always been an interesting topic for me since I studies Greek Mythology in my 5th grade advanced reading class.  It was so fun and different and really made me think about the world as I know it and how different it could be. Helen was a girl facing the challenges of being different which made her very easy to connect with, which I think is very important in a YA book.  For me, it is important in all books to be able to connect with the main character.  Every single character no matter how small was well defined and complete.  The interactions between the characters was well thought out and very diverse.  The book did a wonderful job with the challenges and feelings that Helen has throughout the course of discovering just who she really is and how important she is to the world.  

My Rating:

5 Penguins – This was an awesome book – I could not put it down.

*I purchased this book and all opinions are mine alone.