Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

1 star

When someone dies, people ask you how you’re doing, but they don’t really want to know. They seek affirmation that you’re okay, that you appreciate their concern, that life goes on and so can they.

I read this book because a friend from Goodreads recommended it to me so it was such a downer when I didn’t love it as much as she did. To be honest, I didn’t like it at all. I don’t know, maybe the plot wasn’t big enough for me? It felt more like a short story than a novel.

There was an overflow of descriptions and the narrations suffocated me. I skipped so many paragraphs and there were so many times wherein I just jumped straight to the dialogues just to get to the story. There were also a lot of filler conversations which really bored me. I felt like I was reading a “puberty novel” like Sweet Valley High, and I outgrew that sort a long time ago so I was not very happy.

Don’t get me wrong, it had a good story and a great message. It was more of a story of loss, denial, acceptance, coping and moving on rather than romance despite the fluffy title. I knew what it was trying to get across but I didn’t like how it was executed so it didn’t penetrate me. I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending either. It was so conclusive and didn’t even leave a cliffhanger or some bit of hope on Anna and Sam’s relationship. It was a total “No, it’s just a summer fling. It was great and all but it’s over. Back to city life, bye! Period.”

Would I read another Sarah Ockler novel? I’m afraid I was turned off enough by this one, so no.

The hardest thing is that I’ll never know exactly what I lost, how much it should hurt, how long I should keep thinking about him. He took that mystery with him when he died, and a hundred thousand one-sided letters in my journal wouldn’t have brought me any closer to the truth than I was the night I pressed my fingers to the sea glass he wore around his neck and kissed him back.

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