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Posted on September 23rd, 2010 at 08:30 am
Celebrate the Freedom to Read ~ Win 1 of 100 Copies of Twenty Boy Summer

Banned Books Week
has special significance for the Debs this year. Our own Sarah Ockler and her debut novel, TWENTY BOY SUMMER, are under challenge right now in Republic, MO, along with Kurt Vonnegut's SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 and Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER is a moving novel about grief and love. Anna and her best friend Frankie plan to spend their vacation at the beach, in search of their first romance. But what Frankie doesn't know is that Anna already had her first love- the summer before, with Frankie's brother Matt. Their romance was a secret, a secret sealed when Matt died unexpectedly. Now this summer, the secret is going to have to come out.

As Debs, we're biased- we think TWENTY BOY SUMMER is extraordinary. But we're not the only ones:

"Anna's authentic voice and some lyrical writing will satisfy fans of Sarah Dessen, while the mix of romance, drama, and tragedy will be a draw for teen readers of Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult."
- Heather Brooks, Booklist

"Ockler's debut is often poetic and the girls' friendship authentic, making for a poignant summer read."
- Publishers Weekly

"Ockler deftly combines the sadness of the situation and her characters with humor and lightness… This humor along with several sweet and sensitively written love scenes will surely make this intelligent, heartfelt novel a favorite of many older middle school and high school girls."
- Paula Brehm-Heeger, VOYA

"Ockler’s strong debut has a plot predicated around a tragedy, but the story rises above gloom and doom and is just a lovely, heartfelt novel."
- Romantic Times
Twenty Boy Summer

Now you can decide for yourself. To celebrate the freedom to read, the Debs and Little, Brown are giving away ONE HUNDRED copies of TWENTY BOY SUMMER in paperback throughout Banned Books Week. To enter, just leave us a comment in this post between now and October 2, 2010 about the freedom to read. We'll select ONE HUNDRED winners on October 3rd.

Anyone may enter, open internationally. If you're not using a LiveJournal account to enter, please include an e-mail address where we can notify you if you win. Because the challenge is taking place in Missouri, if you're from MO, let us know in your comment, and we'll give you an extra entry.

Whether you enter or not, we do hope that you'll celebrate your freedom to read this week- write a blog post, write a letter to an editor, read a banned book and always, always speak loudly!


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I've had Twenty Boy Summer on my wish list for months. Please enter me! Thanks.

I've also helped the local high school set up a special display of "banned books" to encourage teens to exercise their right to read. It's already caused a bit of kerfuffle, but the school librarian is strongly opposed to censorship and banning so we make strong allies. :)
Eek - meant to hit return and hit delete instead. Apparently I lost a paragraph up there! This should have been the first paragraph:

I was lucky to grow up in a household where my freedom to read was limited only by my reach. As soon as I was tall enough to reach the "grown-up" books, I was allowed to read them. My parents made it clear that they were always available to discuss anything I encountered in these books, and my mom often began frank (and sometimes embarrassing) discussions about issues like sex, alcohol, depression, exploitation, etc after I'd read something touching on them. Because of this, I learned that there is nothing to fear in books. I learned to open my eyes, to make my own judgments and ethical decisions. I learned about the power of choice and the importance of communication. Banning books is a way of closing the world, shoving it into pre-approved boxes. It's a way of silencing voices, shutting doors, closing curtains. I am adamantly opposed to it. Are there books I think my daughter isn't ready for? Yes. Should these books still be made available, so that at some point in time she has the option and opportunity to read them? HECK YEAH.

Twenty Boy Summer Giveaway

I hope somebody I know wins this book. To be more specific, I hope I win. . .



Great contest! I've had Twenty Boy Summer on my TBR list for awhile now and would love the chance to read it!

I held this in my hand just yesterday, but alas, the hubs has been out of work for a couple months so I can't afford it right now. I hope I win, but if not, I will be buying myself a copy. #SpeakLoudly


Man, I look at some of these books that are being challenged and it just makes me feel physically sick. The censorship going on is ridiculous, you can not stop someone from reading something just because you don't like it. It's like telling a teenager they cant go out past 8.

Speak Loudly is a genius thing, and I strongly believe in it, if people don't speak up then things are just going to disappear.

I've had TWENTY BOY SUMMER on my TBR pile for a while now, so I'd love to win a copy.

But more than that, I wish people would realize what they're doing by banning books like this. TWENTY BOY SUMMER, SPEAK, etc. are all books about problems people face today. They need to be discussed, and I applaud all those authors who take a stand and write about things like this. They've definitely got my support.
Also, here are my own thoughts on this whole issue: http://publishinglane.blogspot.com/2010/09/speak-loudly.html
What many people like the one that wants to ban Speak, Twenty Boy Summer and Slaughterhouse Five don't realize is that just because they get a book "banned" doesn't make it illegal for the kids affected to read it; in fact the ones that really want to are going to want to read it even more, and even if their parents were on-board with the ban, it's not going to stop them from obtaining it through non-school means.


I hid books for years that I thought my parents wouldn't approve of, until I found out that my mom found my stash and read along with me. When she started dog-earing the "good pages", it opened up a dialogue about issues that my friends never got to discuss with their parents. I hope I can have the same relationship with my children.

- Jessica

OMG, I can't believe what's been going on lately in the YA world. I don't want someone else deciding what my kids can/cannot read. If the guy is so worried about it, then he should just make sure his own kids don't read it.

I, for one, encourage my kids to read. And I've got a close enough relationship with them that they know if they've got questions about something they've read they can come to me.

I just hate it when people try to dictate what should be "okay" for others to read. It's not their choice. And the funniest part of all, is when people get on their soap boxes like this, it only makes everyone want to read them more (LOL).

This book sounds fabulous!
Oops, forgot to leave my email...

rebekahg22 (at) yahoo (dot) com
I'm all for this Speak Loudly movement. No one has the right to decide what someone else's kids can or cannot read. Most teenagers can make the decision for themselves, and if not, it's their own parents' responsibility--not Mr. Scroggins's--to set guidelines.



Hey I was directed here by a post on NovelNovie Twitter and am glad I did. This book sounds amazing and I would really love to win a copy. I love to read and everyone should have the right to read whatever they want. A most Frequently Challenged Book of 2009 was “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee one of my favorite books I studied in high school due to Offensive Language, Racism, Unsuited to Age Group.I think young people learn though reading. Racism, sex it happens in the world, books may help us learn this the consequences of actions such as racism etc. Am going to read to kill a mockingbird and your book if I win because talent is what writing is about not arguing over the content just because you dont like it or feel it disaproves from your point of view. Reading is fun. Good luck your book sounds amazing and right up my street. Sorry about the rant :)


I started reading my mom's romance books at the age of twelve. Looking back now, its not something a 12 year old should read, but my mom let me do so. It's something we get to bond over and its what started me reading. My point is, we can all read books that we want, banned or not, whatever genre it is. It's up to us to choose what we want to read. I'm pretty sure readers are aware what the content is of what they're reading, so I don't really see the point of banning books like this. I had a friend of mine read Twenty Boy Summer and she agrees with the reviews quoted above. I'd like to try out and read the book myself. :)



Hello! I would love to win a copy of this book, it's been on my wishlist for ages! Like some of your other commenters, I've been lucky enough to live in a house where there were no restrictions on what I read and things were discussed openly and honestly. I feel very lucky. My email address is flutteringbutterfliesblog (at) googlemail (dot) com. Thank you.

Good grief! Banning books is ages old and just as ridiculous as ever! I too was free to read whatever whenever. If I couldn't understand it, Mom just said, "It's too old for you; read it next year." But banning books is for keeping the readers uneducated, nothing less. Some of the greatest writers known have had books banned; at least the Debs are in good company.

I don't expect to win a thing; I'm just furious that that practice continues. Freedom of speech is one thing; what about freedom of education, the freedom to learn as much as you can about WHATEVER? Humph! Anyone interested in banning (or burning) books should be barred from settings where their opinions are forced on others who don't have a similar concept. Um, IMHO.


Twenty Boy Summer has been in my wishlist since last year. However,I wasnt able to purchase a copy for myself. I'm quite shocked that this is getting banned. I mean...why? After all the reviews I read which were wonderful, I wanted this so bad.




What a great giveaway! It's a sad thing to see whenever someone feels like teenagers should have their access to any book removed, especially when the books are as moving and helpful as these books currently being challenged. We should encourage kids to think, read, and decide for themselves. Thank you for speaking!

I haven't read this title yet, but I am certainly adding it to my TBR pile. I wrote a post earlier this week to Speak Loudly in support of Speak at my class blog (www.kaymcgriff.edublogs.org) Several students have been asking for copies of it, which I gladly lend them. Ellen Hopkins also has had her books pulled from her home school district this week. BBW is off to a hot start.
Part of the reason I've chosen to homeschool my son is because I want him to feel free to read whatever he wants in an environment where we can discuss things that raise questions for him.

More than just dealing with banned books, I can remember being mocked when I was in school, because I loved to read and was reading long, adult fantasy novels by the time I was in the fifth grade. Luckily, that never stopped me from reading. Everyone should be free to read whatever they want, with proper guidance from parents and teachers when it comes to "adult" topics.

Twenty Boy Summer sounds like a fascinating read, and a book I would be happy to have in my personal library.
When we open a book - any book - we open our minds to life's possibilities. I pity those people who are afraid of books.

Best of luck!
It's so sad that with all the horrible things out there for kids to find, people spend their energy challenging a book. I was taught growing up that reading was good, not bad...Guess times have changed?

I would love a copy of Twenty Boy Summer...it sounds great!

I would love to win a copy of this book. I work at a Library,after reading I would donate this book so many more can read it. Hard to believe in this day and age we have to deal with banning books. If you don't like it don't read.. it end of story!


I've been wanting to read this book SO much. Thanks for the opportunity!

I've been really lucky to have parents who have always been democratic book buyers. Which I guess is also one reason why I don't get the whole book banning thing. Firstly, that's crushing art. Secondly, what are they even trying to prove? that teens shouldn't read certain books cos they might influence teens to indulge in apparently 'immoral' behavior? I mean, seriously? Cos that just sucks. Contemporary fiction (though underrated) is undoubtedly the best thing about teen fiction. It's just AT IT. They are brave enough to take a crack at the real issues, which are often skirted around but hardly elaborated, and they dig out the truth when you don't wanna look at it. Everything's not a fairy tale. It's a shame that society can go into such depths as despicable as burning books, when these books are right where the truth is.
It only points at how society just wants to turn a blind eye to what is real, and thrive on lies.





"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." - Judy Blume
I always heard that "Freedon of Speech" was the first American amendmant, speech also means freedom to read.
I am holding a special blog radio show on October 24th at 6pm (A Book and a Chat) to discuss about this issue. I alreayd have Sarah and Ellen Hopkins as a guests and am trying to contact Laurie as well.
Barry Eva



I think that children should be able to read whatever they want as long as their parents are responsible enough to be there to answer questions if they have them. If it is a book that the parents have never read, then they should take the time to read the book as well so that they can discuss the questions intelligently with their child.

treerose AT yahoo DOT com


On the subject of Book Banning and Censorship

The idea of censorship might seem perfectly logical to some but I find best summed up by a quote by Phillip Pullman (in relation to his book The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ) as I try and explain the situation to other people:

"It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don’t have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or bought, or sold or read. That’s all I have to say on that subject.”

smiling.sun.doll (at) gmail.com


Re: On the subject of Book Banning and Censorship

The idea of banning books is crazy because no one should have the right to dictate what is or isn't appropriate for someone else to read. There are amazing books out there being proposed to be banned that could help someone deal with issues that they're experiencing and I applaud these authors for discussing them.

Thank you for posting this. I've found out about the banned books last week on twitter and after reading what it was all about I couldn't believe it. Really.

I know there are some fragile topics for some of us, but that doesn't mean they are all gonna get banned just because we don't want our children to see what we've seen at their age and what everybody knows what happens in a teenager's life.

We get drunk, wild and sometimes do what we feel like it at the moment and then (maybe) comes the regret part. Isn't that what some adults go through too? Isn't that what some humans go through too?

We have all been teenagers once, I AM a teenager and I already know most of the things some adults don't think it's appropiate to talk about at my age. Like sex and rape. These two topics need to be discussed. And in some schools, like the one I went to, teachers didn't talk about these topics. I think they were more afraid of what our parents would think if one day we've arrived home telling them about what our teacher talked about us that day in class.

We choose the book we want to read. Nobody can't tell us off. Our parents are there to explain to us too.

If someone doesn't want a child reading what they think it's wrong then forbidden it to her/him just makes it worse. Talk and explain, then let the child read it and explain it to them again about these life topics.

Once again: We are free to choose what we read and we are free to speak up what we think and feel.

Thanks one more time to post about the banned books. :)

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