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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RTW: Best Book of July

Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival, where YA Highway’s contributors and readers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s take on the topic.

This week’s prompt was: What's the best book you've read this month?

I’ve been binging on contemporary YA books this month (starting here), mainly because I don’t write contemporary novels and I’m not as well-read in that area. And if I didn’t count big books—think If I Stay and Anna and the French Kiss—my bookshelf was sorely lacking in that department.

Enter Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. From Goodreads:
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.

My thought process went something like this:

1.     Girly cover.
2.     A girl wants to hook up with 20 boys on vacation? Pass.
3.     But it got such good reviews.
4.     And it also sounds like the book version of a Demi Lavato film.
5.     But look at all those five stars…
6.     Fine, I’ll read it. But I don’t have to like it.
7.     Ooohhhhhh.
8.     *tears up*
9.     I get it. I totally get it.
10.  Is there a box of Kleenex around here?
11.  *tears through book*
12.  Sleep is for the weak.
13.  *finishes book*

Guys, this book is about so much more than a girl looking to hook up over summer. It’s about a girl mourning the death of her first love. And what I enjoyed so much was that we didn’t meet Anna when Matt was already dead. The death happens early in the novel, but by the time it does, we know enough about Anna and Matt to really feel the pain.

The love and loss were so real here, at times I felt like my heart was breaking with Anna’s. Because it wasn’t fair that Matt died. And I knew from the beginning that this couldn’t have The Happy Ending, the one where she gets the guy she loves. It’s the same thing Anna knows going into the summer. The result is a beautiful struggle between holding onto the past and the guilt of moving forward.

What’s the best book you read this month?

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