Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler | Review

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler | ReviewTwenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Published by Little Brown on June 1, 2009
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 290
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

"Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?"
"Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?"

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every 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 her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

Anna and Frankie are best friends and before he died Matt was their other best friend. But Anna and Matt had a secret. They were more than friends.

For a year now Anna has been keeping their secret. Ever since Matt died, Frankie has changed and Anna feels like it would only upset her more to know the truth of their relationship. As the months pass, Anna hides her true feelings and is always there to help Frankie. When Frankie proposes the twenty boy summer, Anna feels obligated to go along.

On the trip to Zanzibar Bay the girls encounter many different boys and new feelings for each: disgust, hope, maybe even love. Will Anna be able to move on from Matt without forgetting the wonderful month they spent together? Will Anna ever have the courage to tell Frankie about what happened with Matt? And will their friendship be able to withstand the twenty boy summer?

Twenty Boy Summer was an absolutely wonderful debut novel. The characters, setting, and plot were fantastic. Sarah Ockler has created a gripping novel about lost love, grief, and moving on.

Anna and Frankie were fabulous characters. They both had very realistic personalities and quirks that came with them. While I wasn’t impressed with Frankie at the beginning, her whole character really matures throughout the book and by the end, I loved her just as much as I loved Anna. Anna was definitely my favorite, though. Throughout the whole story, you can practically feel everything that she is going through. From losing her first true love, to finding out that new memories can’t erase the old ones, you go through all her emotions and the growth that comes along with each.

While I did love the characters, the setting was the most amazing part of the book.The setting of this book is truly what set it apart from others that I have read. The fantastic descriptions, not only of what is seen of the ocean, but what is felt. I have never been to California or seen the ocean in my life but after reading Sarah Ockler’s writing, I could almost feel the sea breeze on my skin and taste the salt water on my lips.

My only complaint about this book was how one’s virginity was labeled as an albatross. Being a virgin is not seen to me as something to be ashamed of and it is not something that I think should be cast aside for the first boy you meet. At many points, Anna talks about how she would just like it to be over with so that she can join the exclusive club of girls who are no longer virgins. I can tell you right now that that is not how things are in my school and hopefully not in others. I just didn’t like how this was portrayed in a YA book.

Overall, this is the perfect summer read and I would recommend it for just about anyone. While I did have one minor complaint, I loved the book. There are not enough good things I could say about Sarah Ockler’s writing and if you would like to find out more, go find a copy of Twenty Boy Summer.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wake (Dream Catcher #1) by Lisa McMann

Wake (Dream Catcher #1) by Lisa McMannWake by Lisa McMann
Series: Dream Catcher #1
Published by Simon & Schuster on March 4, 2008
Pages: 210
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
5 Stars

Not all dreams are sweet.

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....


I read this book in about three hours. I started it and could not put it down until the absolute last page. Janie is definitely not your average girl but I have to say that I wouldn’t necessarily mind trading places with her if it meant that I got to meet Cabel. He is probably my favorite character in the book, even though there are parts where I want to slap him.

At first, I admit to being a little confused about what was going on in all the flashbacks but everything cleared up for me once we got to the present. It all begins when Janie is eight years old and falls into her first dream. After that she doesn’t seem to be able to stop herself from being sucked into dreams and is barely able to pull herself out once she is in. Normally the dreams that she is pulled into are just embarrassing or very revealing but everything starts to get really crazy when she is pulled into a violent dream that makes her very scared. What she doesn’t find out until later is that the dream that she is so afraid of is Cabel’s and she doesn’t find this out until she is already fully entangled with Cabel. There are so many parts of this book where Cabel seems like the nicest guy a girl could want and then there are the times that you want to rage at him. While Janie and Cabel are definitely the main characters there are other smaller characters that play important roles such as Carrie, Stu, Shay, the Captain, and a couple others. They all seem to have special roles in the book but they aren’t very developed yet and I am hoping that they will be enhanced a little bit in the next book, Fade. I’m not going to give away the whole plot here so if you want to know what happens then you will have to read the book and I would definitely recommend it.