“The Star Shack”—A Book Review

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If you’re looking for a super quick, mindless summer beach read, The Star Shack by Lila Castle is the book for you.

Pete and Annabelle have been coming to Gingerbread beach (a beach where it rains 95% of the time) with their families since they were kids and have been inseparable since the ripe young age of 12.

The summer before their senior year in high school, things have gone terribly wrong. Pete can put up with the fact that Annabelle is a Yankee’s fan (he’s a Boston Red Sox fan all the way), but the fact that she’s totally obsessed with Astrology and “the stars aligning” is just too much for him to stomach. He just can’t move beyond Annabelle’s New Agey freak stuff any longer.

To get back at Pete, and prove to him that there is a science to reading the stars (after all, it’s been used for centuries) she dares him to open up a business with her, reading the signs for tourist to help them find their “perfect love match” based on their astrological signs. She knows that Pete absolutely cannot refuse a dare.

The book takes place over the course of one summer, told in alternating narratives. It was a quick read, and was mildly entertaining. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone, I didn’t hate it. I give this teen novel two out of five stars.

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“Twenty Boy Summer”—A Book Review

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Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler is a heart wrenchingly good summertime read.

Anna is headed to Zanzibar Bay with her best friend Frankie for the summer. The wild and daring Frankie is determined for Anna to finally have a summer romance and devises a plan that they meet and hang out with one boy each day.

Anna agrees to go along with Frankie’s crazy plan. But what she doesn’t tell her is that she’s already had a sizzling romance…with Frankie’s older brother Matt, who died a year ago. Matt promised he would tell Frankie about them, but died tragically before he had the chance. So for the past year, Anna has had to keep the dear memories of her and Matt’s steamy romance secret.

“But when you’re in the middle of being in love with someone, you just don’t stop to ask, ‘Matt, listen, if you die before you tell your sister about us, should I tell her?’”

Emotionally raw and honest, this novel deals with grief, tragedy, secrets, betrayal, family, steamy romance, and most importantly, learning how to move on and live again. I give this summer time read five out of five stars!