June 7th 2012
Simon & Schuster UK
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.
Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.
As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.
I think Morgan Matson is slowly becoming one of my favourite authors. I'm pretty much going to buy any book that she writes. She's pretty much up there with all my other favourite contemp authors likes John Green, Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins. I still think I liked Amy & Roger a teeny bit better, but Second Chance Summer was still really freaking great.
She did that thing that I love in books, where there's the perfect balance of family and burgeoning romance and friendships. I love it when all different kind of relationships are explored and show that romantic love is not the only kind of love or the most important kind of love, because I don't like it when every fictional teen hates their parents. Besides, seeing the Edward's family actually becoming more like a family was probably one of my favourite parts about this book. And, when the inevitable did happen, seeing them all support each other instead of having to turn to the love interest for comfort was really lovely. I just like families in books, okay?!
I really liked Taylor, too, and I completely got her thing about running away from difficult emotional situations because I do the same thing. Which is really bad, I know, but I can't help it! But it was really great seeing her develop as a person, and having her actually confront her problems and face them regardless of whether she'd be rejected or forgiven or whatever. And I really liked her relationship with her father, too. Even though it made the ending that much worse... (yup, I totally cried, just like I knew I would.)
I pretty much liked every character in this book, I guess! I thought Henry was lovely and adorable, and I hope they stayed together after the summer because otherwise that'd be pretty depressing. But at the same time, they're not real people, so it wouldn't really matter... I also thought that Warren was hilarious, and I'd love to have a brother like him if only because it'd mean there'd be someone more socially awkward in my family than me. But the whole thing with him and Wendy just made me laugh a lot. Elliot and Lucy were brilliant, as well, and I was glad that Taylor and Lucy becoming friends again was an important part of the book, and that Taylor wasn't forgiven immediately for what she did to her and Henry.
There was also a few flashbacks in the book that were all spread out pretty far apart that showed what actually did happen five years ago. I really liked reading those parts, too, even though I usually find flashbacks to be kind of draggy. They just fit really well a didn't feel like they affected the pace of the book at all,, as well as giving us kind of a break from all of the more serious stuff happening in the book (ie the whole cancer thing), even though that all came to a head at the end of the book anyway.
I really love her writing, as well. It's not like it's anything amazing and lyrical and beautiful and stuff, but it really felt like summer when reading it, even though it was pouring with rain outside for most of the time. There was a perfect balance between light, funny, proper summer-y parts, and more serious, sad parts, because even at the good parts when Taylor is with her father, there's always that shadow lingering, that this is his last summer, and that they might be the last good memories you'll ever have with him. Which is why I think it was really important that there was all the parts with Lucy and Elliot while Taylor was working with them at the snack shack, and the romance with Henry. It was all about the balance, so it didn't feel too depressing. And it really was, in every way possible, about Taylor having a second chance, to get to know her dad before she couldn't ask him things about his life any more, to fix things with her first ever boyfriend and her ex-best friend, and to become closer with her family.
I really, really loved Second Chance Summer, and if you even like contemp books a little tiny bit, then I think you should read this because it's just really good and lovely and funny and a little bit sad, and it's kind of the perfect balance of most of the things I love in a book.