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Twenty Boy Summer Paperback – May 1, 2010
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“What is the statute of limitations on feeling guilty for cheating on a ghost?” Anna writes in her journal, or rather, writes to Matt, her first true love and her best friend Frankie’s brother. More than a year has passed since Matt’s sudden death, and all that time Anna has kept her brief relationship with Matt a secret from Frankie. Matt had planned to tell his sister but died before he had the opportunity. Now, while on a beach vacation with Frankie’s family, Anna finds herself falling for cute, sensitive Sam against her will—if she can love someone else, does that mean she no longer loves Matt? Anna approaches this issue and other big questions with the insight and maturity that come when a young person loses someone he or she cares deeply about. Anna’s authentic voice and some lyrical writing will satisfy fans of Sarah Dessen, while the mix of romance, drama, and tragedy will be a draw for teen readers of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult. Grades 9-11. --Heather Booth --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"[A] sincere, romantic tearjerker. Readers will easily relate to Anna's authentically depicted feelings of lust, longing, shame and fear as she cautiously embarks on a new summer love."―Kirkus Reviews
"This is smoothly written and romantic as all get out....ideal for readers looking for romance salted with a bit of tears as well as a bit of sea air."―BCCB
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The plot itself was also lacking, in my opinion. The first half of the book drags and then everything Anna has felt for a year and a huge fight with her best friend are resolved in the last 10% of the book, without the rest of the book having led us there organically. Anna didn't grow as a character, in my opinion. And the epiphanies she has before leaving California and then the one again in Frankie's room did not feel earned.
If it hadn't made me laugh here and there, mainly thanks to Frankie's dramatic flare, I would have given this a 1 star. It was not the book I was expecting. The premise was good but somehow, it wasted all its depth in exchange for fluffiness.
A year later, Anna tags along on a family vacation to the beach with Frankie and her parents. This is the first time the family has done this vacation since the death of Matt and it becomes obvious that everyone has been putting on a show and no one is completely over him. Frankie's coping mechanism has been to throw herself into attracting boys and she tells Anna that they're going to meet 20 boys on vacation with the hopes that Anna will lose her virginity to one.
The rest of the novel is mostly about the vacation, the boys, and the family (plus Anna) finally coming to terms with and dealing with the heartache and loss of Matt. It's also about Frankie and Anna and how the death of Matt has evolved their friendship into something completely different, which neither of them quite know how to handle.
I struggled through the book, not because of the writing (which was beautiful) or the characters (which were mostly well developed and compelling), but because it was just so sad. I'm not going to give it a bad rating for that, because I knew going in that it would be a depressing novel, but I tend to prefer happier novels. I see enough depressing stuff in real life.
It does have a mostly happy ending, and a realistic ending, that I appreciated. I did like the book and would definitely recommend it - just have tissues on hand.
The story begins to pickup later in the book, when Anna meets sunny California beach-boy Sam and abandons almost all of her inhibitions. One moment she's tragically emotional about Matt and the next she's a familiarly lust teen anticipating a summer fling. True to teen girlhood - she's confusing.
I took off 2 stars because of the long and slow beginning and the slacking character development. I gave it 3 stars because, pace did pickup and I was genuinely interested to see secrets and drama unfolded..I was not disappointed nor was I impressed.
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