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"20 Boy Summer" by Sarah Ockler

This is a very good book about a girl, Anna and her best friend Frankie (girl) who loose someone very very dear to both of them, Matt, Frankie’s brother and best friend (aside from Anna) and Anna’s best friend (aside from Frankie) and secret love. They try to move on, but the loss is taking its toll on Frankie, who started to smoke and was the one people avoided.
To try to move on, Anna is invited to come to Zanzibar Bay–a summer vacation Matt, Frankie, and their parents went to every summer. Anna feels intrusive, but comes anyway. While they’re there, Anna agrees to a little challenge with Frankie. To find her first summer romance, they set out to flirt and get one boy each day, which was supposed to guarantee Anna to find her love.
Anna still has the secret of Matt and her love and it eats away at her while they’re there. Things go terribly wrong and then some go wonderfully right. Anna thinks she found her summer romance, but feels guilty–like she’s cheating on Matt.
It’s dramatic, really sad, and an amazing book. If you’re emotional at all, you. will. cry.
Not under 13, hands down. Probably not under 14. It has a lot of sensual content and alcohol and smoking involvement. It’s a really wonderful book, though.
Philosophy, Morals, and Themes
The ultimate question in this story is probably “Is it wrong to love another boy when your first real love has deceased?” That question eats away at Anna through the entire book.
Something else that’s big… The day Matt died–the way Matt died–was the day Frankie and Matt were supposed to leave for their Annual Zanzibar Bay vacation. Anna requested they went out to get some ice cream. When Frankie went to buy the ice cream, Matt told Anna he would tell Frankie that they were in love that night. On the way back, Matt’s defective heart spazzed and caused Matt to crash the car that killed him. So the whole trip Frankie doesn’t know about her and Matt and Anna can’t decide if it’s right to tell her or not, even if Matt made her promise not to and that he’d do it. The whole question is… does that promise imply now?
Is it wrong to love another boy when your first real love has deceased?
Does the promise end when Matt dies? Should Anna have told Frankie from the get-go?
What do you think Frankie’s reaction would be if she was told before Matt died (by Matt)? What about after (by Anna)?

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