Looking at the cover and title of this book, you may think it is a light hearted Summer romance book. And while there is some beach romance in this story, the theme more deals with grief, and lost love.
Frankie and her older brother Matt are Anna’s best friends. They are neighbors and do everything together. Anna and Matt begin to fall for each other over time and keep their relationship a secret. Tragedy strikes when Matt suddenly dies shortly before he is to leave for college.
Anna has made a promise to Matt not to tell Frankie about their relationship. She is put in a difficult position where she is supporting Frankie and her family through their grief, while she has to deal with her own tragic loss by herself.
Frankie’s family goes on a trip to Zanzibar every summer, and a year after Matt’s death, they take Anna along on their trip. Frankie’s been acting out since Matt died, trying to get her parents attention. She comes up with a plan to have a contest with Anna on who can meet the most boys over their 20 day summer trip. Each member of the family struggles to cope with the loss of Matt while visiting the vacation place that holds so many memories for them.
This is a beautifully written story of friendship and the grieving process and how different people cope with their losses and begin to move on.
This is Sarah Ockler’s debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from her.