Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Anna Reiley is getting out of town with her best friend forever, Frankie Perino, for a twenty-day-long trip to sunny California. Frankie thinks that the trip to Zanzibar Bay will make it the "Absolute Best Summer Ever" (A.B.S.E. for short). According to Frankie, if they meet at least one new guy a day, it is likely that she will find her first summer romance. Even though Anna agrees to the game, there is a secret Anna's been keeping from Frankie: she has already had her summer romance. A year ago, with Frankie's brother, Matt, right before he died last summer.
My review: For starters, let me just say that the cover art is absolutely perfect. It's rare that the cover fits so perfectly with the content of the book. Moving on, the beginning of the book totally grabbed me by the heart, and then broke it (my heart, that is). It really gets you involved, right from the beginning, making you feel like a part of the story. When the pace began to slow, I will still so emotionally invested in what was going to happen to Anna and Frankie that I had to get through the book. Anna's emotions and thoughts/memories about Matt were sad but made it so easy to relate to her. While the story was filled with sadness, there was also rebirth: a new beginning in California, meeting new boys, etc. It was hard to Anna to stomach at first but even after everything, I did not walk away from this book feeling sad. I felt hopeful, and that is something that I rather like in a book.
My rating: 4/5