Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

twenty boy summer

“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 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.

Anne’s Review

**** 4 stars ****

This was such a beautifully well written story about first love, friendships, holding on and letting go.  Do not let the title fool you because its kind of irrelevant.  This book is more than just boys and hook ups.  It is a story of a girl who fell in love with someone and lost that person in less than a month of being together.  She struggled to move on since she was still caught up in the past and was not ready to let go.  This novel perfectly brought out how differently each person handles grief and shows us that it never truly is a goodbye because you will always have them in your heart.

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( L: Anna and R: Frankie )

Anna and Frankie have been best friends since they were young along with Frankie’s 2 year older brother Matt. The trio have been inseparable. But Anna always saw Matt more than just a best friend. She has been in love with Matt since she could even remember,  but she never told Frankie about how she felt.  One of her only wishes for her birthday was for Matt to show her that he felt the same way….. and he did. Matt kissed Anna on her 16th birthday.  They continued to sneak around for the next 3 weeks and failed to tell Frankie about their new relationship status.  Matt promised Anna to never say a word to Frankie.  He wanted to tell his own sister about them on their annual family trip to Zanzibar Bay.  But Matt never had a chance to say anything because the eve of the trip he passed away  and Anna carried the secret she promised Matt.


( Matt )

“He loved to read. He loved words, the way they string together into sentences and stories. He wanted to study them, to know and create them, to share them with the world. ”

- Anna, Twenty Boy Summer

“Every morning, I wake up and forget just for a second that it happened. But once my eyes open, it buries me like a landslide of sharp, sad rocks. Once my eyes open, I’m heavy, like there’s to much gravity on my heart.”
Anna, Twenty Boy Summer

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Zanzibar Bay California

A year came and Frankie invited Anna to their annual trip to Zanzibar bay.  Frankie wanted the summer to be memorable and wanted for both of them to have fun.  “Fun”  meaning boys, sun, boys, parties, and a chance of romance.  But how great could this trip be when this was the first time the family ever came back without Matt?

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I never really gave out any spoilers because the book is way more than what I just shared.  I really enjoyed this book.  It made me cry ( often ) and feel sad for Anna, but at the same time I was so moved by how strong this girl is.  The way she handled her grief was something I could never do.  I gave it a 4 stars because I stayed up late to finish this book. I gave it only a 4 and not a 5 because I fell in love with Matt and I was like Anna, it was hard for me to even let him go.

ps: I picked this up because of the cover and loved it even  more after reading the book.

** soundtrack **

1. Ray LaMontagne – You Are The Best Thing

2. Parachute – Forever and Always

3. Mariah and Boyz2men – One Sweet Day

4. Artic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know?

5.  Michael Learns To Rock – Sleeping Child

6. Jack White – Love Interruption

7. Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather

8. Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N



photo cred:

Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews

Flowers in the Attic

” Way upstairs there are
four secrets hidden.
Blond, beautiful, innocent
struggling to stay alive.”

Anne’s Review

***** 5 Stars *****

This a story about four innocent beautiful children who were locked up by their grandmother and mother in the attic after their father died.  Their mother’s marriage to their father was such a disgrace and sinful that in order for their mother to win back her father’s love ( and win her way back into his will ) she must return back home to ask for forgiveness, pay her sin and show that she never bore any children from that marriage.  Over the course of 3-4 years, the children were imprisoned alone in that attic with no one to hold on to but each other.  A grim tale to say the least.

I read this book 5 years ago and I have always wanted to see the movie.  I finally saw the movie ( 1987 version ) last night and it reminded me how good this book really was.  Good in the sense that its very raw and twisted.  A twisted dark fairy tale, not the happy sunshine type of fairy tale, but nevertheless it is a story that is so evil that you can only think of it to exist in an imaginary world.  The narrator is a 11-12 year old little girl. A girl that has yet to reach womanhood and was left behind to take care of herself, her  little sister and little brother, along with her older brother who is only 14.  It comes to show us that children are really in the mercy of their parents. It is not too far from reality in how their mother and grandmother treated them so badly.  I am sure there are worse cases right now with children being  mistreated by the  people they care about. I don’t want to give any spoilers out in this review.  I want you to find out how dark and twisted this book really is.  But you have to be open minded about everything before you read it.  You have to set aside all your paranoia, judgement and emotion or else you would not appreciate the rawness of this book.  The story is not something you could even comprehend in reality.  It is so original and probably one of my favorite books of all time.


Cathy Dollanganger

She is the perfect little princess you read about in stories.  Perfect hair, perfect skin and of course so beautiful.  I loved Brooke Shields back in the 80s. She was so pretty and I can picture Cathy to be the young Brooke.

“Love … I put so much faith in it. Truth … I kept believing it falls always from the lips of the one you love and trust the most. Faith … it’s all bound up to love and trust. Where does one end and the other start, and how do you tell when love is the blindest of all?”


Christopher Dollanganger

Chris is strikingly handsome with long, waving blond hair that just touched his shoulders, then curled upward. ( From Petals on the Wind ) If you have been reading my old posts, you should have an idea who this is.  This is a younger picture of Alex Pettyfer. Everytime I read a character with long blonde hair I always picture him.


The Twins

Cory and Carrie Dollanganger.  I chose the Jolie-Pitts for the twins.  They were about four when they were in the attic.


The Grandparents mansion.  Looks perfect outside but held the most terrifying secrets.


The Attic

Paper Flowers

** paper flowers

“It is so appropriate to color hope yellow, like the sun we seldom saw. And as I begin to copy from the old memorandum journals that I kept for so long, a title comes as if inspired. ‘Open the Window and Stand in the Sunshine.’ Yet, I hesitate to name our story that. For I think of us more as flowers in the attic.”

This is a story of  innocence, love, hate, greed, lust, betrayal and survival.  A different take on a “coming of age,” adolescence type of book.

** soundtrack **

1. Jack White – LOVE interruption

2.Passenger – Let HER Go

3. A Great Big World – Say Something

4. Rihanna – What Now

5. Eminem -  The Monster

** A real F@*ked up story that you will remember forever.

“Love doesn’t always come when you want it to. Sometimes it just happens, despite your will.”


A Precise Moment by Nicole Castro


Brynn Cash is so over her life in the mid-west, so it’s high time to do something wild and get a new one. Moving across the country seems like a radical idea- because it is- but working in a bookstore for beans is just plain crazy. A chance meeting puts Brynn in front of one of her rockstar idols, Jared West. She might be a city girl living in the desert, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a one night stand. When she gets an opportunity to visit him in LA, she isn’t sure which one is worse- getting Jared’s sole attention or being invisible to him.

Anne’s Review

*** 3 stars ***

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I’ll Be Here by Autumn Doughton

I'll Be There

“For the past two years, Willow James has been building the perfect life–a life that centers around Dustin Rant, her dimpled, sports-car-driving, cologne-wearing boyfriend. Willow and Dustin have lots of plans. Plans for college, prom, tonight actually. So, when the unthinkable happens, and Dustin breaks up with Willow over a plate of cheese fries at a steak house, she is left stunned and heartbroken. 

With less than two months until graduation, Willow has to start a new life from scratch. She’ll have to revisit old wrongs along the way and make the most important decision of all: who does she want to be? She’s going to have help from her wacky ex-best friend, her bohemian mother, and an old flame that is suddenly and somewhat inconveniently back in her life.”

Anne’s Review

*** 3 stars ***

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Devil’s Knot by Mara Leveritt

Devil's Knot

On May 5, 1993, a full moon rose behind the Memphis skyline. It’s light glinted across the Mississippi River and fell onto the midsized Arkansas town aspiringly named West Memphis.  Sometime between the rising of the moon and its setting the next morning, something diabolical would happen in West Memphis.  Three eight year old boys would vanish, plucked off the streets of their neighborhood by the unseen, murderous hand. Under the glare of the next day’s sun, police would discover three young bodies. They would be pulled- naked, pale, bound and beaten from a watery ditch in a patch of woods alongside two of America’s busiest highways. 

- Devil’s Knot by Mara Leveritt

west memphis three

The Victims: ( Left to Right ) Chris Byers, Michael Moore and Stevie Branch

Around 1:45 pm, juvenile Parole Officer Steve Jones spotted a boy’s black shoe floating in a muddy creek that led to a major drainage canal in Robin Hood Hills. A subsequent search of the ditch revealed the bodies of three boys. They were stripped naked and had been hogtied with their own shoelaces: their right ankles tied to their right wrists behind their backs, the same with their left arms and legs. Their clothing was found in the creek, some of it twisted around sticks that had been thrust into the muddy ditch bed.The clothing was mostly turned inside-out; two pairs of the boys’ underwear were never recovered. Christopher Byers had lacerations to various parts of his body, and mutilation of his scrotum and penis.


The ” Suspects”

At the time of the arrest Echols was 18, Misskelley was 17 and Baldwin was only 16.

Anne’s Review

***** 5 Stars *****

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Sins & Needles (The Artist Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle

Sins & Needles (The Artist Trilogy #1) by Karina Halle

Ellie Watt is used to starting over. The daughter of a grifting team, Ellie spent her childhood being used as a pawn in her parents’ latest scam. Now she’s much older, wiser and ready to give her con artist life a rest. But returning to the dry desert town of Palm Valley, California means one more temptation than she bargained for – Camden McQueen. Once known as the high school weirdo, Camden is bigger and badder than the boy he used to be and a talented tattoo artist with his own thriving business. Ellie’s counting on Camden still being in love with her but what she’s not counting on is how easily unrequited love can turn into obsession over time. When Camden discovers Ellie’s plan to con him, he makes her a deal she doesn’t dare refuse, but her freedom comes with a price and it’s one that takes both Ellie and Camden down a dangerous road.

Millie’s Review:

**** 4.5 Stars ****

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Allegiant by Veronica Roth


“Every question that can be answered must be answered or at least engaged. Illogical thought processes must be challenged when they arise.”

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 


Anne’s Rating: *0.5 stars*
Millie’s Rating: ***2.5 stars***

Insurgent by Veronica Roth


” Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged.”

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves, and herself, while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Anne’s Review

*** 3 stars ***

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Divergent by Veronica Roth


Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Millie’s Review:

*****  5 Stars *****

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