Talk about a match made in heaven.
My summer + this book = perfect contemporary to fill my time.
And since I’m on a kick with today’s featured band–I made today’s
pair-up after about two chapters into this book!
Right after I finished up my semester, I made a mad dash to my library and checked out a stack of teen recommended contemporaries. This was on my list.
I’m admitting right off the bat (this confession is becoming a habit around here) that this is my first go round with Sarah Ockler. But after finishing the story, I definitely think I’m going to have to dive into her other books! I hear nothing but great stuff around the blogosphere about her stories, and I can testify to it now!
So today’s feature was one that came easy to me. Like a lot of my soundtracks and stories picks, I just happened to hear this song and thought man, that would go perfect with…and so you have it. I’m super excited about today’s feature because 1. I loved the book, & 2. the band is sort of my band of the moment.
Today’s Soundtracks and Stories pair up is—
Author: Sarah Ockler | Blog | Publication Date: June 1st, 2008 |
Publisher: Little, Brown Books | Source: Library |
My Interest: Contemporary, Teen recommended|
Age Group | Genre: YA| Contemporary, Romance, Grief| Series: No|
Anna isn’t quite sure she’s ready for a mini vacation in Zanzibar Bay with her best friend Frankie. After all, Frankie thinks that 20 days at the beach is the perfect ratio for summer flings- 1 day:1 boy, and she believes Anna is bound to find her summer romance in that mix.
But what Anna has failed to share with Frankie is that she’s already been in love, and lost it. And it was with Frankie’s older brother Matt just before he tragically died.
When I first read the concept of the story, I was a little iffy just because of my stance on “sex and teens.” Frankie was a little wild for me to like at first, but then I realized she was hard core grieving–and no one was really understanding her. But Anna gets her, and she’s tries to help. Just going along with Frankie to the beach–a place where Matt once was–actually helps the girls grieve in the way they need too.
Though it probably isn’t my most favorite contemporary story, I really enjoyed it. Ockler has a way of grasping grief and making it real for the reader. Yes, there’s romance and boys and the beach in this story–which makes it a perfect contemporary for me–but as I’ve been drawn to stories about grief lately, I really enjoyed seeing a different side of dealing with loss. And even if Frankie’s wildness isn’t a type of character I think I would be, I related to her. Especially if I had read this when I was a teen. (Not that I was wild–just that she was such a REAL character.) Both Frankie and Anna are misunderstood in things, their parents don’t get them, they don’t quite get each other, but in the end they are there for each other which is what they need the most.
This is really a beautiful story about love, loss, and friendship. It reminds you to take caution with your moments and cherish them as well as those around you.
I’m sure most of you will know “Everybody Talks” by the Neon Trees. It was their first big single, and it’s what definitely got me turned on to their music. But it’s “Weekend” that really makes me think of Twenty Boy Summer. And it’s also the song that I have a 30 second dance party to every time the pre-chorus comes one.
I know this song is from a boy’s perspective, but the lyrics really make me think about Frankie and Anna:
“We are fast youth goin nowhere / burnin this town like we don’t care / nothin you say could ever put out our fire / We could pretend, pretend for the weekend / We could pretend, pretend for the weekend / outside, the night’s as young as us / tonight it’s just the two of us / pretend, pretend for the weekend“
I mean–both girls are dealing with their grief even if it has been a year since Matt’s death. But here they are on vacation, in a place that isn’t home but still has remnants of Matt. 20 boys in 20 days is their escape–pretending to be someone else entirely, burning through the local town with fun and parties and road trips.
Teenagers living the dream.
Really though–I just love this song (excuse me while I pause for my 30 second dance party) and I can just picture Anna and Frankie dancing around out on their balconey or on the beach to the Neon Trees. It just screams them.
Twenty Boy Summer is a great read you guys–with or without the song. I feel like it is a story that once again tackles such a hard topic of grief, but really helps the reader to understand a teenager’s way of handling it. Ockler has written some fabulous characters who just jump off of the pages with their personalities and struggles. It’s a lasting story, and one that challenges readers to contemplate the moments that make their life beautiful.
If you are a fan of contemporary, romance, swoon-worthy reads, read-trip stories, grief and loss, beaches, summer sunshine, and boys.
Book Talk: So what do you think? Are you a Soundtracks & Stories kind of reader or am I some crazy person trying to piece together lyrics and novels? If you’ve read the book and know the song –or even if you’ve just now heard it–do you see how they fit together? Or at least how my mind fits them together?
Want to share your own Soundtrack & Stories? Email me at thehopefulheroine (at) gmail (dot) com or hit me up via Twitter @hopefulheroine or fill out the form below!