Book Review: 20 Boy Summer

20boy20 Boy Summer

by Sarah Ockler

Little, Brown and Company, 2009

C

From the back cover: 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. — Little, Brown and Company

My Opinion:

20 Boy Summer has been on my pile all summer. I got in to it for about five chapters and then stopped. I didn’t stop because the writing was poor. On the contrary, the writing is excellent. So is the dialogue and the characterization. For those reasons I rated 20 Boy Summer a B. I would have rated it an A but for the message of the book. If this were an adult fiction I wouldn’t have had a problem. But, it’s recommended for 12 years of age and older. That’s where the problem lies for me.

As the synopsis says above, Anna is going on a 20 day summer vacation at the beach with her best friend Frankie. The real goal of the vacation, not mentioned in the synopsis, is to meet 20 boys so that somehow among all those boys Anna can lose her “albatross” – her virginity. Frankie said she lost hers a few months ago and they believe, at sixteen, it’s past time for Anna to lose hers too.

Somebody please tell me I am not off base here in finding this an unsuitable story line for 12 year olds. I know I’m sixty-something and I’m sure I’m considered old-fashioned but, has the world changed that much since I was a girl? At the heart of the matter is the fact that I’m the grandmother of two girls, one of whom is an advanced ten-year-old. Her mom and dad are very careful about what she reads but I’d hate for them, or any parent, to look at the back of the book and see the “Ages 12 and up” and let her have it.

On the other hand, this would be a good book for parents to read first, let their young teens read it and then have a discussion about the coming dating years, relationships, and so forth. Handled responsibly this would be a good resource.

Other bloggers have read and reviewed this book. If you are interested check out 20 Boy Summer on these sites:

Booking Mama

A Novel Menagerie

My Two Blessings

My Friend Amy

You can buy 20 Boy Summer at Amazon

This entry was posted in 100+ Book Challenge, A C Book, Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Book Review: 20 Boy Summer

  1. Sherrie says:

    Hi Margot,
    I would have to agree with you on this. I don’t think it would be a suitable book for 12 year olds. They start thinking of boys early enough, they don’t need any encouragement. Thanks for stopping by my place, I really appreciate it lots! I also have an award for you. You can pick it up at my place, Just Books. Have a great day!

    Sherrie

  2. Beth F says:

    I have this on my Sony Reader and haven’t read it yet, so I can’t judge appropriateness. I know I’m a bit more liberal than most.

  3. Kathy says:

    This is in my TBR pile and I hope to read it soon. I’ll let you know after I’m done.

  4. I loved this book but I recommended it for 15 and above, not 12 and above! (And “fifteen” was a compromise to those who tell me I *am* a fuddy-duddy!)

  5. Nope, it isn’t appropriate for 12 year old, much less 15 year old in my opinion. My parents would have had a fit it they found me reading this book when I was a teenager.(70’s) It does give the entirely wrong message and needed to have a better moral message at the end, versus the ending it did have. It was an interesting read to say the least. You are right on the money, this is one of those parent read first book and discuss with their daughter after.

  6. Molly says:

    Actually, I have had this book on the TBR pile since the beginning of summer and have not picked it up because I knew I would have a problem with the appropriateness of the subject matter for its intended audience. I will definitely read it – sometime – but you have now validated what I have been feeling all along.

  7. stacybuckeye says:

    From your description it sounds inappropriate and I’m guessing there was no “Aha!” moment in the book for Anna and Frankie about sex at 16 being too young – most expecially with a guy she doesn’t really know! I think hormones are crazy enough at 15, 16 and teens need to additional encouragement to have sex. Good review, Margot!

  8. I still haven’t read this one; it does sound like it should have a different age range listed as recommended!

    Your review is fair; I like your explanation for a B (instead of A) rating.

  9. Great review! I’d have to agree with you on this, although I haven’t yet read it myself. I guess I’m old-fashioned, too 🙂

  10. Cerrin says:

    I would have to agree with you that the writing is excelent and the story is great too…But I would not want my nieces to read it. Not till they are older and able to process things according to what is apropriate and not.

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