Skip to main content



Twenty Boy Summer

I kick off my flip-flops and walk across the wet grass to the steps, sitting on the bottom one and digging a little tunnel in the sand with my feet. It’s wet and cold under the hot surface, just like Matt said.

As the waves shush against the shore, I look out over the ocean and watch a few families scattered along the beach. In front of me, a mother stands knee-deep in the water, waving and calling for two little boys to come in for lunch.

When someone you love 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. Secretly they wonder when the statute of limitations on asking expires (it’s three months, by the way. Written or unwritten, that’s about all the time it takes for people to forget the one thing that you never will.).

They don’t want to know that you’ll never again eat birthday cake because you don’t want to erase the magical taste of the frosting on his lips. That you wake up every day wondering why you got to live and he didn’t. That on the first afternoon of your first real vacation, you sit in front of the ocean, face hot under the giant sun, willing him to give you a sign that he’s okay.

Excerpted from TWENTY BOY SUMMER © Copyright 2011 by Sarah Ockler. Reprinted with permission by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Twenty Boy Summer
by by Sarah Ockler

  • Genres: Fiction
  • paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0316051586
  • ISBN-13: 9780316051583