CLM's Reviews > Twenty Boy Summer

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
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Dec 27, 10

bookshelves: ya, 21st-century, friendship, grief, summer
Recommended for: Darsa
Read in September, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Anna had been best friends with next door neighbor Frankie and Frankie's older brother Matt for as long as she could remember. Her crush on Matt was a deep secret until her 15th birthday when she found out he felt the same way. Worried about hurting Frankie's feelings, they kept their new romance secret for several weeks, until suddenly, Matt dies in a car crash, driving to get ice cream with the girls. A year later, his family is still struggling to recover from his death and Anna has kept the secret, although longs sometimes to be able to voice her angst other than in her journal.

During a summer trip to California with Frankie's family, Frankie and Anna try to meet teenage boys in a place where no one knows their sad story, but their friendship suffers when both realize they have kept painful secrets from each other.

I really liked this book about a mature teen who tries to be a loyal friend even when it is painful, and would have given it a 4 1/2 or 4 3/4, despite a plot twist at the end that reminded me of that old Kristy McNichol movie, Little Darlings.
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Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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Rachel Piper From the title I assumed this was a light chick-lit teen book, but your review made me very intrigued. Thankfully I have never seen Little Darlings.


message 2: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM Well, I do like light chick-lit teen books too but thought this was very well done.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I will read this... and I LOVED Little Darlings, btw. Watched it many, many times in my Matt Dillon phase.


message 4: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM I should get it for a sleepover with the nieces - it's been a long time since Clare and I saw it.


message 5: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Snort. As if Darsa's Matt Dillon phase is over.


message 6: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM She likes Matt Czuchry more than Matt Dillon these days...


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Wendy, too right. Constance, bite your tongue!!

And, also, Constance: I *can't* picture you watching that movie with young relatives. So racy! Watch it with me instead.


message 8: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM They probably aren't ready for it yet. I do think it would be great for a slumber party. I should have come to visit you in Portland that time JJ took the boys somewhere (camping? surely H was too young to go camping).


message 9: by Virginia (new)

Virginia I can't believe you managed to work a Little Darlings reference into a review. And that I immediately knew what kind of plot twist you must be referring to.


message 10: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM Sometimes it is hard to write a review but avoid spoilers! Of course, not everyone gets my cultural references...


message 11: by Virginia (new)

Virginia This was a good, sought-after spoiler. I was reading the review to see if this book would be good for my 13-year-old daughter. (maybe not!)


message 12: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM Well, I might have read it at that age but as a parent I might save it for later. Have you tried her on Heaven to Betsy or is she way too sophisticated?


message 13: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Thanks for the suggestion. She read the younger betsy books, but, yes, she's a little too sophisticated - a tough nut to crack. I spend a lot of time trying to find books for her that are:

1) not fantasy/paranormal (she hasn't liked it since Harry Potter)
2) clean enough
3) clever or funny enough
4) not all about really grim subject matter (cutting, eating disorders, suicide).

SHe's been reading some Nicholas Sparks books lately. She also liked Pride & Prejudice, but she needs some filler between conquering books like that. just got her a book called Dairy Queen that looks fun and funny.

I wish I could get her interested in the regencies. Our neighbor's daughter went through all my Georgette Heyer books when she was about 15, and I was able to assure her mother that they were squeaky clean, nicely written and harmless.

I was reading whatever I found on my parents' shelves at that age. Not a good solution. ;-)


message 14: by Wendy (new)

Wendy How about LM Montgomery's novels? The Blue Castle? It's funny and romantic.


message 15: by Virginia (new)

Virginia That looks good, Wendy! Thank you so much for the suggestion. I have never read it either and it's on kindle, so I'm downloading it now.


message 16: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM I love Dairy Queen and its sequels. What about Sarah Dessen? How Not to be Popular/Ziegler. The Freedom Maze. Caroline Cooney.


message 17: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Oh my gosh, thank you all. This is amazingly helpful. How Not to be Popular looks great, just added it to the list. I might have to talk her into the Freedom Maze, but i suspect she'd like that, too. I need to take another look at Caroline Cooney's books - she was a little disturbed by the Face on the Milk Carton, but it looks like some of her works are not as suspenseful.

On Sarah Dessen - I got the idea somewhere that at least some of her books had a lot of sexual content? Is that not the case?


message 18: by CLM (new) - rated it 4 stars

CLM Try the Party's Over/Cooney. Or Most Precious Blood by Pfeffer. Some of the Sarah Dessen's have sexual content but as I recall in a reasonable context that teens would not be surprised by. Check if your library has Star Spangled Summer by Janet Lambert - you would like it even if she doesn't!


message 19: by Virginia (new)

Virginia I have Star Spangled Summer on Kindle and have had it for some time, but I hadn't started it. I can't remember what made me buy it, but I am betting I pulled the idea off your list. (Wouldn't be the first time - you have no idea how many books you've led me to). You also are reminding me of some of the fun Mary Roberts Rinehart books (e.g. Bab: A Sub-Deb) which I also have, an which she might like. Thanks again for all these ideas. I keep a Word file with links and will add the Cooney and Pfeffer books.


Rachel Piper Sarah Dessen's books are actually pretty clean; usually there are just hints about what a character has been up to, there is now onscreen descriptions. Dreamland is dark and I think This Lullaby swears a bit, but Someone Like You and The Truth About Forever are two that I'd especially recommend to a younger teen. Sarah Ockler's Bittersweet is also much tamer than Twenty Boy Summer but still fun. And I echo that the Dairy Queen series is very good.

(Sorry to leap into this conversation)


Rachel Piper Yikes, *no* onscreen descriptions.


message 22: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Thanks, Rachel ... all added to the list. Daughter skates (used to figure skate, now plays hockey) so Bittersweet looks like a particularly good fit.


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