From the book jacket: According to Anna's best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every 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 her romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
"Sometimes I think we all feel guilty for being happy, and as soon as we catch ourselves acting like everything's okay, someone remembers it's not".
This is exactly what Anna feels-guilty. Guilty for lying to her best friend and guilty for mourning someone who she's not sure she's even "allowed" to mourn. This is a novel about discovery. Discovery of love then immediate loss, of friendship, how people can change and how you can still love them, of finding love again, and letting go. This novel was real-my heart literally ached through parts of this book. I felt what Anna was feeling 100%. To me, this novel was reminiscent of Sarah Dessen and I think that is a huge compliment. It was absolutely beautifully written and I feel in love with the characters and their plights.
"I really don't even know you, and yet, in my life, you are forever entangled; to my history, inextricably bound".
After Anna goes to Zanzibar with Frankie and her family (the same vacation spot where Matt would have been had he not died) everything changes. She discovers that life can go on and that it can go on without erasing memories of the past. She also discovers that she can't save everyone, that people need to go through things their own way and sometimes just being there is the best thing. And she discovers herself. This is the most important discovery for Anna and the one that made me cry at the end. That no matter what she will always look in the mirror and see the same face.
"Nothing ever goes away-it just changes into something else. Something beautiful".
I loved, loved, loved this book. I didn't want it to end. I might even have to read it again soon. It's so raw and truthful, I can't believe how sucked into this story I was. I recommend it to everyone, seriously, it's the best thing I've read in a long time.
Rating: 5.0 (but I would give it an even higher rating!)
Women's Month Celebration Question:
Q: As a woman, do you feel you've accomplished anything for fellow women?
A: Actually, yes. I am a color guard instructor and currently I teach 14 girls. Each of them are different and I am constantly trying to empower them. Whether it's loaning them a book, giving them advice, or grieving with them-they know someone is there who cares about them. And although it's a small number of lives to enrich, I am content with that for now.